Rabies: Top canoeist declared brain dead

2012-06-07 15:59
Underberg farmer and top canoeist Graeme Anderson has been declared brain dead after contracting rabies from a stray dog (Supplied)

Underberg farmer and top canoeist Graeme Anderson has been declared brain dead after contracting rabies from a stray dog (Supplied)

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Durban - Underberg farmer and top canoeist Graeme Anderson has been declared brain dead after contracting rabies from a stray dog, a family spokesperson and doctor said on Thursday in Durban.

"We discovered through a Spect scan on Wednesday that Anderson was brain dead. His family will have to turn the machines off in the next few days," Dr Grant Lindsay said.

Anderson, 29, has been in the ICU at a Pietermaritzburg hospital for about five weeks.

Anderson, who is well known in agriculture, as well as in canoeing circles as a “daredevil” extreme sportsman, could not recall anything out of the ordinary about the dog he picked up in Underberg village and took home five or six weeks ago, a close family friend, Dr Grant Lindsay, told The Witness.

"To him at the time it was a non-event. He saw the dog wandering around in the village. As an animal lover he took it home and gave it shelter. When it got sick and died he buried it without further ado.”

Lindsay told The Witness Anderson was never bitten by the dog and no one had considered that it might have been rabid.

He contracted rabies from the dog's saliva.

He said Anderson was holidaying in Mozambique with his girlfriend when he became ill and returned home.

His condition worsened and he was admitted to hospital about five weeks ago.

A hundred and twenty-five rabies cases have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal since the beginning of the year. Two people have died as a result of the outbreak in the province.

KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Environmental Affairs MEC Meshack Radebe launched the rabies campaign in the Royal Hotel in Durban on Thursday.

The World Health Organisation has donated R16.5m to help fight rabies in the province.

Manager of the Rabies Elimination Project, Kevin le Roux, said the money would contribute to the vaccination of about 600 000 animals a year.

The department would roll out a vaccination programme aimed at vaccinating 70% of animals in KwaZulu-Natal a year.

Awareness campaigns in the media worth R1m would be used to encourage people to vaccinate their animals.

"The department of education has agreed to let children go home and collect pets on vaccination days in their communities.

"I've suggested that there should be a way of marking all vaccinated dogs and cats, so if someone decides to play with a pet, they will at least know if it has been vaccinated," Radebe said.
Read more on:    durban  |  health  |  rabies

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