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Rabies in South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal)

28 Jun 2018

On 23 June 2018 it was reported that a 25 year old man from the South Coast area of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has died of rabies following an untreated dog bite. Media quoting the KZN Department of Agriculture say this is the fifth human fatality in 2018, with 24 cases in animals in June. The Durban area is said to be a hotspot for animal rabies.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection.

  • Rabies is the most dangerous of all infectious diseases. There is no recognised treatment once symptoms begin and with the exception of a tiny number of cases, those who develop symptoms of rabies will die.

  • An effective rabies vaccination is available.

  • All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies and advised to avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic), particularly dogs and cats.

  • Children are more vulnerable to rabies than adults as they are less likely to comprehend the risk of animal contact, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.

  • All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately if bitten or scratched by an animal.

For further information (including post-exposure advice) see Rabies.