Rabies: Top canoeist declared brain dead

2012-06-07 15:59

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.

  • Irene - 2012-06-07 16:08


      Ashley - 2012-06-08 10:34

      Preshen my friend you are an idiot!!!

      Utopian - 2012-06-08 10:45

      I would say Preshen is more like a giant dingleberry

      Kerry - 2012-06-08 11:27

      Preshen clearly you have no education and upbringing. Surprised you can read and write - peice of human trash!

  • Dax - 2012-06-07 16:10

    Condolences to his family. All this happened because he was a caring person. It's a real pity he passed away when we have the medicine to treat such things.

      GMPholoholo - 2012-06-07 19:02

      A person has to get vaccinated if they suspect that they might have contracted rabies. Once the first symptoms appear, there is no cure. The only way to cure after the symptoms have appeared is by the body using its natural anti-bodies to fight the rabies, this includes the person being put into a deep coma.

  • Ryno - 2012-06-07 16:13

    very very tragic. get rid of all stray

      Michael - 2012-06-08 08:02

      Agreed, they are a danger to our society RIP

      Carol - 2012-06-08 13:00

      @ Ryno .. that would be equal to getting rid of all stray humans too ... and at Michael below .... how simple the two of you are :(

      Greg - 2012-06-08 13:13

      Ryno, how about we just have the stray dogs vaccinated and not kill them for no apparent reason!!

      claire.ranwell - 2012-06-08 13:23

      A million thumbs down to you Ryno - idiot

  • marilizen - 2012-06-07 16:17

    In the US, dogs that are vaccinated for rabies get a tag to show that they are covered. Dogs without the necessary tags are very easy to spot. Might work here too.

      Klippies - 2012-06-07 17:23

      The tags will be stolen

  • stewartridgway - 2012-06-07 16:18

    "The department of education has agreed to let children go home and collect pets on vaccination days in their communities." But the stray dogs and cats might have rabies... so this seems like a reckless idea. Am I missing something?

      maria.ferreira.545849 - 2012-06-07 21:44

      I can see these animals getting. stuck into each other on vaccination day. How are these children going to control their pets big and small? these animals are powerful.....

      rooinekk.smit - 2012-06-08 15:58

      They will allow children to go HOME and collect PETS. Not STRAYS. Get it?

  • Stormkaap - 2012-06-07 16:29

    Absolutely tragic!

  • edwin.cloete - 2012-06-07 16:41


  • Stille - 2012-06-07 16:44

    Round up all strays in the townships and put them down. The obvious neclect of animals in these areas cannot be ignored. RIP. Sad that your kind deed cost you your life.

      puse.mabuza - 2012-06-09 20:45

      Stille I dont remember any case of rabbies in any townships therefore how do you make such statement. The article said rural

  • Cate - 2012-06-07 16:51

    So sad. Condolences.

  • Bokfan - 2012-06-07 17:59

    What a loss. If only we had a government that was aware of anything but their bloated stoamchs, that could actually manage anything more than their place in the corruption buffet this death and many others could have been avoided. The anc government is a crime against humanity.

      msendi - 2012-06-08 10:13

      There goes another narrow minded ANC hater again. A middle finger to all those who gave you thumbs up, including you…

      lynsey.rimbault - 2012-06-08 10:28

      Bokfan, we don't always have to make everything about politics...

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-06-08 11:35

      look the ANC is to blame for alot but even i struggle to blame for this one, its a bit of a stretch.

      kaMazibuko - 2012-06-08 15:08

      U stupid fool, didn't u read what the government is doing ???

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-07 18:34

    So sad,condolences.

  • Nompumelelo - 2012-06-07 19:44

    So sad! May the Almighty comfort his family through this tough time.

  • Christine Hickey - 2012-06-08 06:12

    What happened to the system of ink stamping the ears of dogs as they are vaccinated. A few seconds of discomfort for the dog but it leaves and indelible tattoo in the ear.

  • joa.meyer.5 - 2012-06-08 07:40

    Can any one tell me when the next vaccination programme will take place in the Durban area?

  • Emmanuel - 2012-06-08 07:46

    Painful, Condolences to the family.

  • Irene - 2012-06-08 09:38

    Lived in Malawi in the 70's. On a specific day, all were warned to keep pets tied up or in the house. All other loose animals were collected, and presumably, put to sleep. This prevented rabies and was much kinder to the scrawny dogs dying of starvation... I had the ant-rabies shots, and they were not pleasant, but better than getting sick and dying. This is so sad, a young man being kind to animals.

  • Monster Monti - 2012-06-08 10:34

    Preshen you silly Appache with your idiotic statement

      Jacqueline - 2012-06-08 14:16

      Quite ironic that you call Preshen's statement idiotic, when you can't even differentiate between the Apache indians, who are NATIVE AMERICANS, whereas Preshen would be of Indian decent from the ASIAN SUB CONTINENT. See the difference there Monti? ASIA VS AMERICA?

  • Deon - 2012-06-08 10:43

    This is so sad, very few people if any survives this deadly disease.

  • Christopher - 2012-06-08 11:25

    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. Good for our children!

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-06-08 12:21

    Why does the campaign for immunization need to be launched at a hotel? Is'nt it because it's just another opportunity for the MEC to blow donor money ? I would like to know how much was spent on this.

      kaMazibuko - 2012-06-08 15:10

      would u rather it was done on the street ? hotels have halls that are well equipped for handling press conferences

      cruywagen - 2012-06-09 03:42

      He passed away yesterday. Everything possible was done to try and save his life. Please can the comments remain respectful. Losing a loved on is the most painful experience anyone can go through and unless you have walked in these shoes perhaps its better to say nothing at all. And what do you mean by "spent on this?" on rabies awareness? or saving his life?

  • Dave - 2012-06-08 12:50

    Gees, this is hectic. RIP bru. No stray dogs around parliment house in Harare??

  • neo.khemisi - 2012-06-08 13:09

    SAcans let start now to pray for mr Anderson most importantly let's pray for his family with the hardest decision they will ever make in their lives this is heart stopping decision my the power of living god see them through this

  • Msika - 2012-06-08 13:31

    Do not kiss a woman or a guy from KZN as they might have contradicted rabbies.

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-06-08 21:26

      What a stupid frikken comment.

  • collinml - 2012-06-08 14:15

    Graeme Anderson was a LEGEND!!! Life was just starting for you when it ended abruptly , doing a good deed. Rest in peace bru :(

  • Bergie - 2012-06-08 14:16

    Terrible news.

  • david.baird.568 - 2012-06-08 15:09

    Really sad that such a decent & caring act by such a decent & caring person should have such a tragic result, vaccination of dogs & cats must be priority

      Bibi - 2012-06-08 15:53

      Unfortunately, the plight of animals does not feature in the to do list of African governments.

  • howard.komati - 2012-06-08 20:37


  • cruywagen - 2012-06-09 03:34

    Greame it has been incredible to see how the community of have come together in prayer and petition for you life. You have put up a brave fight. "Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere". PS 84.

  • Frank - 2012-06-09 14:38

    absolutely tragic.i watched a documentary on a girl who had survived rabies and pretty much recovered from it.Its such a devastating disease folks,please make sure your animals are vaccinated.

  • desire.oosthuizen.37 - 2012-06-10 13:00

    I cannot believe that the Government tells people not to pick up stray animals. My heart really goes out to the family, but I see Anderson as a hero and admire him. He tried to give an innocent animal a 2nd chance at a better life. How many people just drive past a dog they see roaming the streets for food (would you stop if it was a child?). I blame the government for letting things get out of hand. If every dog and cat were to be registered (like every human) on a data base there would not be problems. If every person owing a pet were to be forced to have them sterilised and only certain people with different breeds wee allowed breeding, every animal in this country would have a loving home and cared for properly. In this way Government can also keep an eye on animals and abuse and neglect can be ruled out. Government should stop wasting money and give it to people who can make a difference in the lives of animals. These animals deserve a better life, and killing them will not solve the problem. People need to start standing up for the voiceless. These animals can’t tell you what they want, we must do it for them.

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