Rabies in South Africa
26 Sep 2022
In the month before 25 August 2022, South African public health authorities reported 2 cases of rabies from Eastern Cape Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (1 case) and OR Tambo District (1 case).
Between 1 January 2022 and 25 August 2022, South Africa has reported a total of ten human rabies cases.
The affected areas are: Eastern Cape Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (5 cases); Limpopo Province, Mopani District (2 cases) and Vhembe District (1 case); KwaZuluNatal Province, eThekwini Municipality (1 case) and iLembe District (1 case)
A further 5 deaths from probable rabies were reported from Eastern Cape Province, OR Tambo District (4 cases) and Amathole District (1 case).
Rabies is a fatal 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.