News24

4th death from rabies in KwaZulu-Natal

2012-08-29 12:02

Durban - A fourth person is believed to have died from rabies in KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial department of environmental affairs announced on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Jeffrey Zikhali said a 21-year-old man, identified as SK Majola from Durban's Mariannhill, died on Saturday.

He said Majola had been bitten by a dog in mid-June, but only sought treatment at St Mary's Hospital for the bite two days later.

"He was given the tetanus vaccine and immunoglobulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine. An appointment to attend Tshelenyama clinic was then organised for the remainder of his rabies doses.

Some reports indicate he apparently defaulted [on] the follow-up."

Majola was admitted to RK Khan Hospital last Wednesday with left shoulder pain, palpitations, difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia.

He failed to respond to treatment and died on Saturday morning.

Zikhali said saliva had been sent for testing at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and that a post mortem would also be carried out.

Majola is the fourth person in KwaZulu-Natal to die from rabies.

The first was an 8-year-old from Bergville in the Midlands. Then it was 52-year-old Clementina Cele from Ngonyameni outside Umlazi, south of Durban. The third was 29-year-old Graham Anderson, a farmer from Underberg in the Midlands.

A 4-year-old boy from Umlazi remains in a serious condition at Durban's Clairwood hospital after he was bitten in April by two dogs, both of which were infected with rabies.

Comments
  • karen.gerhardi - 2012-08-29 12:46

    This could be avoided if all the dogs in the area were vaccinated regularly. The state vet rushes to hand out free vaccines in the norther suburbs of Jhb, why not in the rural and poor areas as well?

      jws.paterson - 2012-08-29 14:00

      State vets run massive programmes in rural areas. Sheer numbers of dogs/cattle/people involved, and the practicalities of running these programmes with the complete lack of abilities of upper management in Dept of Agriculture makes their jobs very difficult.

  • gary.lyon.509 - 2012-08-29 13:32

    This is just another example of the government failing to do its job. This increase in cases is not an act of God, it is an act of negligence and incompetence by the ruling party and local officials charged with controlling this deadly disease.

      jws.paterson - 2012-08-29 14:02

      Rather comment on stuff you know about pal. "Local officials" are doing just about all they can be expected to do. Upper echelons tend to get involved, which add to the challenges, but ultimately it's about controlling a disease that requires huge public involvement (vaccination), and massive resources; neither of which are forthcoming.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-29 14:22

      Spot on jws, some people's disdain for govt renders then completely moronic.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-29 14:24

      Rabies has been a problem in KZN since forever, especially since we border on countries that have NO rabies control mechanisms with cattle straying across borders bringing not only rabies, but foot and mouth and other deadly diseases which spreads like wildfire as they come into contact with wildlife in Norhtern KZN.

  • jackie.m.dickson - 2012-08-29 14:08

    Allowing someone who has been bitten by a rabid animal to "fail to follow up" on treatment is BS. This is completely the government and health departments fault for not doing their jobs! If a patient is non-compliant for a reportable disease, like the drug resistant TB, they are kept in hospital and forced to take the meds. The courts can also enforce this. Once you start to show symptoms its tickets...you will die. Can the governemnt & its departments please wake up & do your jobs....by the way your tasks dont include art appreciation.

      jws.paterson - 2012-08-29 14:47

      I don't think what you're saying makes sense at all... People default on treatments all the time; be it antibiotics, antiretrovirals, TB, and now obviously rabies. Health Dept. cannot possibly be tasked with spoon-feeding these people; they simply do not have the resources. TB is a different story: those infected will infect others, hence they are quarantined. Rabies isn't the same, and they would not be able to force patients to stay at the clinic. It's a simple procedure: once a week or so, you go and get an injection. If you don't, you will die. I'd think that would be sufficient motivation to clear my schedule, don't you?

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