The Mpumalanga MEC for department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs (Dardlea), Busi Shiba, is encouraging all cats and dogs owners to get them vaccinated against rabies at their nearest state vet offices.
This as South Africa will be observing the 17th World Rabies Day on September 28 under the theme ‘Rabies: All for One – One Health for All’, which extends from the 2022 campaign, which similarly focused on the one health concept.
According to Dardlea, this year’s focus, however, takes a stride forwards by emphasising collaboration, equality and the enhancement of the health systems. “Our message urges all South Africans to play their part, stay informed about rabies, and raise awareness within their sphere of influence. In both animals and humans, the disease affects the brain, and once clinical signs become visible, there is no curative treatment, and it is 100% fatal. Therefore, if you get bitten by a dog or scratched by a cat, please ensure thorough washing of the wound with soap and running water and immediately seek preventative treatment at your nearest healthcare facility, to save lives. It is therefore compulsory, in accordance with the law, for all dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies,” said Shiba.
“As World Rabies Day approaches, let us stand together in the global fight against this disease, embracing the ‘All for One – One Health for All’ approach. Together we can eliminate this preventable disease and create a healthier, safer world for all.”
Rabies is a zoonotic disease, which means that people can get it through the saliva of an infected animal mainly through bites, scratches or licks. The disease affects the brain and is fatal once a person or animal shows clinical signs.
Animals infected by rabies show changes in behaviour and neurological symptoms. They may salivate, become paralysed, be unable to swallow, continuously vocalise (barking, whining, howling), and become aggressive. They might also exhibit weakness or unresponsiveness.