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Rabies in South Africa

05 Jan 2023

Public health authorities in South Africa report that rabies continues to be transmitted in the country. In December 2022, a child from Vhembe District was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with rabies.

From 1 January 2022 to 13 Decmeber 2022 there were 13 cases of rabies in South Africa. The affected provices were Eastern Cape (7 cases), Limpopo (4 cases) and KwaZulu-Natal (2 cases).

A further 6 probable cases were reported from Eastern Cape (5 cases) and KwaZulu-Natal (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:

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
  • seek immediate medical attention if you might have been exposed to rabies

For further information, see the fitfortravel Rabies page.