Ra­bies out­break on the KZN North Coast – vet

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS -

A NORTH Coast vet con­firmed there was an out­break of ra­bies in the area af­ter six cases of the disease were re­ported there this month.

“We’ve never had some­thing like this be­fore,” said Bal­lito-based vet Dr Jeremy Lamb.

His com­ments came on the back of re­cent alarm about ra­bid dogs in the north­ern Kwazulu-na­tal re­gion.

The ra­bies virus is trans­mit­ted via the saliva of in­fected an­i­mals.

Lamb said: “The virus af­fects the brain and changes be­hav­iour, caus­ing dogs to be­come ag­gres­sive.

“How­ever, in some cases the symp­toms may sur­face only af­ter a pe­riod of time.”

Ac­cord­ing to the vet, while peo­ple could be treated fol­low­ing con­tact with ra­bies this might not be the case for dogs that have not been vac­ci­nated as the virus could be fatal.

Michaela Naidoo, 21, has been on edge await­ing test re­sults af­ter her three dogs were at­tacked by a stray dog last week.

The SPCA has since con­firmed that the stray was ra­bid and had been roam­ing the streets of Seatides, north of Dur­ban, when it clashed with Naidoo’s dogs.

“The dogs were fighting with each other through the gate when one of my dogs pulled the stray dog into the yard and I had to in­ter­vene,” she said.

Naidoo man­aged to separate the brawlers and con­tacted the SPCA which did tests and found that the stray dog had ra­bies.

“They only have a 50% chance of sur­vival be­cause I had not been able to take them for their vac­ci­na­tions which were due re­cently,” she said. The stray dog was eu­thanised. Naidoo was be­ing treated for ra­bies be­cause she was bit­ten while try­ing to separate the fighting dogs.

She said: “I hope they (her dogs) make it and I hope this doesn’t hap­pen to any­one else.”

Kloof and High­way SPCA’S Bar­bara Pa­trick urged dog own­ers to get an­nual ra­bies vac­ci­na­tions for their pets. “KZN is a high-risk area for ra­bies. “It has al­ways been preva­lent, pos­si­bly be­cause of the num­ber of stray dogs that are not vac­ci­nated,” she said.

The KZN De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture mean­while con­firmed the spike of ra­bies in KZN, par­tic­u­larly in the areas be­tween Eshowe and Richards Bay mov­ing to­wards ilembe, where early this month a two-year-old suc­cumbed to the virus af­ter be­ing at­tacked by a ra­bid dog.

Spokesper­son Khayelihle Nk­wanyana said: “The prov­ince is now on a mas­sive drive to elim­i­nate ra­bies com­pletely in or­der to pre­vent more hu­man deaths.

“What we are tar­get­ing is to vac­ci­nate more than 70% of the dogs in var­i­ous dis­tricts.”

Mean­while, An­i­mal res­cuer Tashya Giyaper­sad urged the pub­lic to re­main calm.

“I would en­cour­age peo­ple who want to as­sist to seek the help of the SPCA and not to ap­proach any stray an­i­mal un­til the au­thor­i­ties can con­firm that in­deed there is an out­break ver­sus a few spo­radic cases,” she added.

Michaela Naidoo, 21, is be­ing treated for ra­bies af­ter get­ting bit­ten by a stray ra­bid dog when she was try­ing to stop a bloody brawl be­tween the stray and her ca­nine trio on Mon­day.

KARINDA JAGMOHAN

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