Boy, 8, dies of ra­bies in Queen­stown hos­pi­tal

The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - By Tem­bile Sgqolana

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.

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