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Rabies in South Africa (Human)

25 Oct 2012

On 7 October 2012, a 10-year-old child from Free State province died from rabies virus infection following two bites on the face and arm from a stray dog on a farm. The child received medical attention at a private facility for the dog bites but was not given rabies PEP.

This latest case of rabies infection makes a total of 9 laboratory confirmed human cases of rabies in 2012, in South Africa. Cases were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (4), Limpopo (3), Mpumalanga (1) and Free State (1) provinces. A further two probable rabies cases have been reported in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers to South Africa should be made aware of the rabies risk and be advised to avoid all contact with animals and dogs in particular. All animal bites should be reported and assessed carefully. Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.