97 cases of rabies in KZN this year

2012-05-07 13:05

Durban - At least 97 cases of rabies in cats and dogs have been reported in KwaZulu-Natal since the beginning of the year, the provincial rabies project said on Monday.

"The most affected areas are Ugu district, Port Shepstone, uThungulu, Bergville, and Winterton," rabies project manager Kevin le Roux said.

Underberg farmer and top canoeist Graeme Anderson, who was suspected to have contracted rabies after taking in a stray dog, was fighting for his life in hospital, the Witness newspaper reported on Monday.

Dr Grant Lindsay told the paper Anderson picked up the dog and took it home five to six weeks ago. He was admitted to hospital on Wednesday and placed in the intensive care unit on Friday.

Lindsay was quoted as saying that there was a "high possibility" that Anderson had rabies, even though there had not been a definite diagnosis.


Department of agriculture spokesperson Jeffrey Zikhali said rabies was a concern in the province.

"It is a difficult situation to control and it's also difficult to track animals that have not been vaccinated," he said.

The department had sent vets to affected areas and was monitoring the situation.

"We are also encouraging communities to vaccinate their animals."

Le Roux advised people not to touch stray animals.

"If there is any exposure from an animal wound you must seek medical advice immediately," he said.

Le Roux said two people died from rabies in KwaZulu-Natal in 2011.

People can contract rabies through the saliva of an infected animal, or through a cut or graze.

  • Tuco - 2012-05-07 13:22

    Looks like Cujo has recently paid KZN a visit.

  • max.maxwell - 2012-05-07 13:37

    A few years ago, we had rabies almost under control, with only one or two cases a year. Either the Dept. of Vet Services is failing in is vaccination programme, or the wrong strategy is being used. I personally feel someone isn't doing their job properly!

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-07 14:30

      It is a very difficult disease to track. Speaking to my vet, who deals largely in wildlife rescue in KZN, he too shares this sentiment. Don't be too quick to point fingers, rabies has been a problem in KZN since I remember - Actually, in our area we are rabies "free" for the first time in about 12 years...

      deidre.botes - 2012-05-07 21:15

      Perhaps they should consider putting him in an induced coma, the only person I know that survived rabies after starting to show signs survived this way, my mom died from rabies and its not pretty, go for jabs straight after you get exposed as my mom waited too long and didn't get all the jabs she needed, all the best to Graeme and his family

  • Mattewis - 2012-05-07 13:40

    "Fighting for his life!?" If you have Rabies, you've already lost that battle! Very tragic, but only a single person I know of in Wisconsin recently survived the disease!

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-07 14:30

      Caught early enough it can be beaten...

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-07 14:32

      "There is no cure once the signs of rabies appear. It is then inevitably fatal. However, the relatively long incubation period allows post-exposure therapy to be effective if done correctly."

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-05-07 16:20

      I had no idea rabies is virtually untreatable. We need to eradicate it fast.

  • Successful Nhlamulo Mabilane - 2012-05-07 13:41

    eh something must be done spca

  • niki.wessels - 2012-05-07 14:32

    Many people don't realise that the ONLY way to protect their pets in a rabies area is to get them vaccinated and keep them from straying. A human can still be treated IF he/she receives the correct treatment within days of being bitten (and long before symptoms appear), but, because canine rabies is much more contagious to dogs than to humans, an unvaccinated dog bitten by a rabid dog will almost certainly get rabies, regardless of whether it receives further treatment or not.

      Genet - 2012-05-07 16:44

      It is such a sin and a shame that people do not have their animals vaccinated against rabies. The state vet visits all the areas to give free vaccinations, so there is no excuse.

  • Susan - 2012-05-07 15:42

    Does this mean that Graeme have almost no chance to survive? that is terrible!

  • carolyn.dewrance - 2012-05-07 19:11

    A few years ago when I lived in Shongweni on a farm owned by Mr. B Nichol I had a very old cat, who had gone out to do her business, Mr Nichol saw her and tried to touch her, she was a very shy cat, and turned around and attempted to scratch him. He SHOT HER DEAD. and told me that he shot her because he had been told by the Dept of animal services to shot any animal that he did not know. I went to fetch her body which he had thrown into a plastic bag, and took her Rabies certificate to show him, He had no remorse for what he had done. and said, he did not really care, and that any animal that he did not know personally that came onto his farm he would shoot. One day I hope he gets bitten by someones rabid dog. the bastard deserves it.

  • Lerato - 2012-05-08 05:18

    Why take in a stray dog?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-05-08 13:58

      Because they care...

  • ShauneJordaan - 2012-05-14 09:59

    Graeme is a very close mate of mine I went to uni with him. He is an incredible man, and awesome farmer and sportsman. He has always taken in stray dogs, often getting them right and then using them on the farm. If there is anyone that can beat this its him- he is one of the toughest buggers alive. Currently he is still fighting in ICU you can follow it here, join in support and pray for this young guys life.

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