Are you aware about Rabies? Do you know that Rabies kills animals and humans?
What is rabies?
Rabies is a fatal, viral disease to which humans are also susceptible.
How is rabies transmitted?
The disease is mainly transmitted by the bite of an infected animal as the virus is found in the saliva of a rabid animal.
What symptoms can be expected in a rabid animal?
Symptoms can vary widely. The most common signs are:
- Behavioural changes (e.g. wild animals appear tame and domestic animals become aggressive).
- Salivation and abnormal vocalisation
Which animals can become victims of rabies and also transmit the disease to humans / other animals?
All warm blooded animals can contract and then transmit rabies. The most common species in South Africa that can become infected with rabies are:
- Pets, eg. Dogs, cats, horses
- Livestock, eg. Cattle, goats, sheep
- Wild animals, eg. Mongoose, bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, bats...
How can I protect my dog and cat against rabies?
Pet owners are compelled by law (Animal Diseases act 35 of 1984) to ensure that their dogs and cats are vaccinated at 3 months of age against rabies and repeated annually thereafter.
The pet's vaccination booklet should accompany the animal when traveling. The vaccine is available from a veterinary clinic and local SPCA at a nominal fee. The state veterinarians do hold rabies clinics where the injections are free of charge.
How is rabies transmitted to humans?
Human infection most commonly results from dog bites (dog infected with rabies), and the victims are usually young children.
What should I do if I get bitten?
- Wash wound well for at least 5 minutes with water and soap.
- Immediately consult a medical practitioner.
- Do not wait for symptoms (headaches and fever, muscle pains, fear of water, mental disorder, difficulty swallowing, paralysis, vomiting, profuse salivation, hoarse voice, irritability, anxiety, etc.) to develop.
Rabies can be prevented by means of vaccination and anti-rabies immunoglobulin's.
There is no effective treatment for humans or animals once symptom's of rabies develop.