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Western Cape working with stakeholders to detect rabies outbreak

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The Western Cape Agriculture Department says it’s working with the Veterinary Services as well as the Fisheries and Coastal Management Department to detect the origin of the rabies outbreak in the province.

It says they are also testing samples to establish the extent of the outbreak.

At least three cases of suspected rabies have been detected in Cape fur seals in Blouberg, Strand and Muizenberg.

Provincial authorities have again appealed to the public to avoid contact with seals or any wildlife.

Upon initial reports of the outbreak last month, a case of rabies was confirmed in a pet dog in the Capri area of the Southern Peninsula in Cape Town.

State Veterinarian Dr Vivien Malan says the infected dog and a younger dog from the same household, which was injured, were humanely euthanised.

Malan says the source of the infection is currently unclear as neither of the dogs in the household had travelled outside the province recently.

“Rabies can be transmitted to people and is 100% fatal if symptoms appear. The disease can be prevented by vaccinating your dog and cat. Vaccination campaigns will be carried out in the area around the outbreak by local animal welfare organisations, private veterinary practices, and Western Cape veterinary services,” Malan explains.

Facts on rabies 

Here are some of the facts about rabies, according to the World Health Organisation:

  • It is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease that affects central nervous system.
  • Dogs are responsible for virus transmission in up to 99% of the human rabies cases, and children between the age of 5 and 14 years are frequent victims.
  • Rabies infects mammals, including dogs, cats, livestock and wildlife.
  • Rabies spreads to people and animals via saliva, usually through bites, scratches, or direct contact with mucosa (e.g. eyes, mouth, or open wounds).
  • Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is virtually 100% fatal.

North West 

In a desperate attempt to curb the spread of rabies in the rural areas of Taung, North West, the Department of Agriculture has started to vaccinate livestock.

According to the department, rabies was first detected on farms in Mamusa and has now spread to two areas in Taung.

Source: SABC News

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