Rabies alert: What to do if you are bitten by a dog

2018-04-04 06:04
A few facts about rabies. PHOTO: supplied

A few facts about rabies. PHOTO: supplied

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OVER the past four months, five cases of rabies in humans have been reported in South Africa, with an additional two cases being probable.

Since then, the country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases has warned that steps need to be taken as soon as possible in order to curb this alarming trend.

Daniel Stewart, a global specialist in consulting and training in animal handling and disease control, who has dedicated himself to tackling rabies worldwide, said that this disease is typically associated with dogs and that because of this, preventative measures can be taken.

“All dogs must receive their rabies vaccination within 12 to 24 weeks of age to prevent them from getting rabies and then dog owners must follow up these vaccinations when the dog has reached 12-16 months,” said Stewart.

He said that should you get bitten by a dog, some of the following methods listed below are recommended.

• Do not pull away from a dog; stand and hold still.

• If you fall, roll into a ball and tuck in your arms and legs and cover your head.

• Dog bites should be taken seriously! Wash the wounds immediately with soap under running water for 15 minutes and go to your nearest clinic, or tell a responsible adult so that they can take you to the clinic straight away.

• Rabies is a fatal disease that can be prevented but not treated. Bites, especially from unknown dogs or dogs behaving aggressively or abnormally, should be treated as soon as possible at your nearest clinic.

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