Boy, 8, dies of rabies in Queenstown hospital
AN EIGHT-year-old boy from Whittlesea is believed to have died from the viral disease, rabies.
The child was apparently admitted to Frontier Hospital where he died on June 12. Rabies, known in isiXhosa as umgada, is a viral disease transmitted from animals to humans.
The department of rural development and agrarian reform provincial rabies co-ordinator Dr Yonela Nkubungu confirmed the case. “Rabies is serious. When you have it, there is no treatment. In the case of the boy, there was no sign that he had been bitten by a dog.” It was possible a dog with rabies had licked the boy or that he had been bitten by a mongoose.
“We encourage people to vaccinate their dogs. The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported that last year there were four cases of people with rabies in the Eastern Cape.” The saliva of an infected animal coming into contact with a wound or open skin could introduce the virus to the host. “A dog with rabies will show aggression, excessive salivation and behavioural change (an aggressive dog becomes docile or a docile dog becomes aggressive). In cats, aggression manifests.”
While rabies was 100% preventable it was untreatable. Vaccination of pets was imperative.