The KwaZulu-Natal department of agriculture and rural development has warned the public about an increase in new cases of rabies in the province, which has resulted in the loss of people’s and animal’s lives, Mid South Coast Rising Sun reports.
According to the department, the new cases have been detected along the coastal belt of the province affecting South Coast, Durban, iLembe District and Empangeni/Richards Bay areas, under King Cetshwayo District.
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Department spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana told SA Government News Agency that the department was on a massive vaccination programme in October last year when the province was experiencing an increase in the number of new cases of rabies.
Nkwanyana said the vaccination programme started in the north coast, where the department visited areas in Ndwedwe, Inanda and surrounding areas in Durban. It was then moved to the South coast.
“The programme went on until December, where we were satisfied and thought that we’ve dealt with the cases… until recently when we were alerted of the new spike. We did a survey and got a report about stray dogs in Port Shepstone. A team was dispatched to kill them,” Nkwanyana said. Two cases of children having both the dog and cat bites were recently reported in the affected areas.
The cases involved a boy in Enseleni, who was bitten by a dog, and another boy who was bitten by a cat in Stanger, while his family was on holiday. Unfortunately, the two boys lost their lives.
Nkwanyana said the department has put up a massive vaccination programme in both the south and north coast of the province, especially in rural areas, adding that state vets are hard at work in this regard.
While the department is doing all it can to cover the entire province in its vaccination drive, people in KwaZulu-Natal have been urged to do the following:
·They must not entertain strange animals in particular dogs and cats in their neighbourhood;
· They must report strange dogs and cats to their nearest local offices or to SPCA for collection;
· Children must be monitored not to play with these domesticated animals unless they have been recently vaccinated for rabies; and
· In cases where someone has received a dog or cat bite, no matter how minimal it may look, the department has urged them to immediately approach a clinic or hospital within less than 24 hours for rabies treatment.