Rabies in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo) - Update
06 Jan 2022
Public health authorities in South Africa have updated the total number of rabies cases in the country in 2021. As of 14 December 2021, there have been 19 confirmed rabies cases in Eastern Cape (9), KwaZuluNatal (6) and Limpopo (4) provinces.
In addition, 4 probable rabies cases were reported from KwaZulu-Natal (3) and Eastern Cape (1) provinces.
Some of these cases have been linked to outbreaks of dog rabies in the affected provinces.
Rabies is a serious viral infection which affects the brain and nerves. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, usually following a bite or scratch.
Advice to Travellers
Before you travel, you should:
- check if rabies is a risk at your destination
- consider having rabies vaccines before travel; see a travel health professional (at least 4-6 weeks before you travel) if you think you might need a rabies vaccine course or booster dose
- be aware what to do if you think you have been exposed to rabies virus
- determine if there will be any reliable medical facilities at your destination
If you are travelling to a country where rabies is considered a risk, you should:
- avoid contact with animals, especially dogs, cats and monkeys: be aware that some animals can be infected with rabies without being aggressive or behaving strangely
- be aware that children are more likely to approach animals. Check them for wounds, and encourage them to tell you if they are bitten, licked or scratched by an animal
- read the animal bites page for advice on how to prevent being bitten by bats and animals
For further information, see the fitfortravel Rabies page.