While South Africa is still coming to grips with the Listeriosis outbreak, another deadly disease is claiming lives in KwaZulu-Natal.
Three people including two children have so far succumbed to rabies after a recent outbreak in the province. The latest victim was Dumisani Manzini, a 49-year old from Vryheid who died on Wednesday.
Earlier in the month, a toddler died after coming into contact with a stray cat.
KZN’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed via a press release on Friday that there has been a spike in rabies cases in the province with reported instances affecting the South Coast, Durban, eMpangeni and Richard’s Bay.
“We have two cases reported of children [with] dog and cat bites. These two cases have resulted in death,” said the department.
Rabies are transmitted to humans through saliva from an infected animal which can enter the host through bites or coming into contact with a scratch or an open wound.
The disease often affects livestock, although consuming meat from an infected animal does not lead to humans contracting the disease. However, eating such meat is not advised.
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Symptoms can take weeks to show up in humans and, at first, they can resemble a common viral infection with fever, nausea, vomiting and a general feeling of illness.
As the virus advances, it affects the nervous feelings and an infected person can experience, depression, hallucinations, anxiety, confusion, restlessness and even paralysis.
Children are mostly at risk and should be monitored and not allowed to play with stray animals.
At the event of a bite or a scratch, the wound must be washed thoroughly with running water and soap and the victim needs to be taken to the clinic or doctor for a course of vaccinations. This is advised as long as it cannot be confirmed that the pet or animal in question has recently been vaccinated or not.
There have been vaccination drives around the province and pet owners have been advised to prioritise ensuring that their pets get the necessary shots.
Although there is no cure for rabies, the disease is still preventable.