News24

Eastern Cape issues rabies warning

2011-11-09 13:33

Cape Town - More than 400 animals have been vaccinated for rabies by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality after a meerkat that bit a dog tested positive for the disease, the metro said on Wednesday.

"Rabies was suspected after a meerkat acted out of character and bit a dog during a fight almost two weeks ago," the metro said.

"After the meerkat was killed, the animal was tested at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute of the University of Pretoria and the dog was placed in isolation in an attempt to curb the disease from spreading."

Residents from Perseverance and Despatch in Port Elizabeth were asked to vaccinate their animals as soon as possible.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain in warm-blooded animals. It is transmitted by animals, most commonly by a bite from the carrier.

After the Onderstepoort results came back positive on Friday, the metro's dog control unit vaccinated as many cats and dogs as possible to contain the spread of the disease. A mobile unit was in the area to treat the animals.

An effective precautionary measure was to wash a wound thoroughly with cold water and soap shortly after a bite, the metro said.