Rabies Western Cape Town

Vets hard at work – Photo: Unsplash

‘Rabies outbreak’ feared in Cape Town following positive cases

Government officials are asking Cape Town residents to express caution, after cases of the infectious rabies disease were detected this week.

Rabies Western Cape Town

Vets hard at work – Photo: Unsplash

Pet owners in Cape Town have been put on high alert this week, after dogs in both the Mother City and Khayelitsha both tested positive for rabies. The Western Cape Government has warned those with furry friends to remain extra-vigilant, as the disease is easily transmissible between animals and humans.

What’s rabies? Western Cape govt try to tackle ‘outbreak’

Rabies can be transmitted by saliva or other body fluids, and a dog or person can be infected by being bitten, scratched, or licked by a positive animal. The gruesome illness can be fatal, and it has prompted local government experts to issue an immediate warning for all pet owners – who are now being encouraged to double-check vaccine schedules.

“The Western Cape Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services have confirmed cases of rabies in two dogs in Khayelitsha in the City of Cape Town. Investigations are currently underway to determine the source of the outbreak. Concerned owners should take pets to the vets, or an animal welfare organisation, to check their vaccination status.”

How to tell if your pet has rabies

So, how do you know if your four-legged companion has come down with rabies?

  • As an example, dogs with rabies often show noticeable behaviour changes.
  • They can become suddenly aggressive or unusually tame, pretty much out of the blue.
  • Animals with rabies struggle to swallow and often walk around with their mouths open.
  • Drooling, heavy choking, and foaming at the mouth are all classic signs of a rabies infection.
  • People in contact with a rabies-infected animal must wash any bites or scratches thoroughly with soap and water.
  • You are also advised to go immediately to a doctor or clinic to get your own rabies vaccinations.

Cape Town pet owners urged to get vaccinated against the disease, too

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Ivan Meyer has confirmed that a vaccination drive has begun in the region, in the hope of preventing further cases from springing up elsewhere. Humans must also take precautions against this illness.

“Animal Health Technicians began vaccinating dogs and cats in the area yesterday. We’re working closely with the welfare organisations and medical to check on contacts and anyone who may have been bitten and need treatment.”

“If you suspect that you have had contact with a rabid animal, getting preventative treatment as soon as possible saves your life. The sooner you receive treatment, the better you will be protected against rabies.”