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Rabies (Human) in South Africa

30 Jul 2015

A human case of rabies has been reported from South Africa. The case was an 8-year-old boy from Meheleng, near Ficksburg in Free State Province who sustained a dog bite to the upper leg on 02 May 2015. Some weeks later he was admitted to hospital with symptoms of rabies virus infection and sadly died on 06 July 2015.

So far this year (2015) a total of 5 human cases of rabies infection have been reported in South Africa: Limpopo (2), KwaZulu-Natal (1), Eastern Cape (1) and Free State (1) provinces. One further suspected case from Eastern Cape Province has been reported but could not be confirmed.

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.