350 suspected rabies cases in KZN

2012-05-23 18:38

Durban - A total of 350 animals thought to have rabies have been destroyed in KwaZulu-Natal this year, but only 107 of them tested positive for the disease, an official said on Wednesday.

"The numbers of animal cases are higher this year due to the large outbreak in the Bergville and Loskop area, otherwise the cases are declining in the rest of the province," said agriculture spokesperson Jeffrey Zikhali.

He said the department was investigating the death of an 8-year-old boy believed to have contracted rabies after being bitten by a dog in Bergville. "The dog in question was already infected and was vaccinated four days before the incident," he said.

Zikhali said two people were suspected to have contracted rabies, but these cases had yet to be confirmed by the laboratory.

Beeld reported on Friday that top canoeist and farmer from Underberg, Graeme Anderson, 29, was fighting for his life after coming into contact with a rabid dog seven weeks ago.

Anderson’s case was confirmed by his doctor, but it was not included in Zikhali’s statistics because he was not aware of the case.

On average, two people die from rabies in KwaZulu-Natal a year.

The department offers free vaccinations in rural areas. "About 300 000 dogs are vaccinated each year. There is always a challenge with capacity to vaccinate the entire province," Zikhali said.

- SAPA

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  health  |  animals  |  rabies
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