World Rabies Day awareness
28 September 2012 | CITIZEN REPORTER
IN a bid to save thousands of lives, the Department of Health have partnered with numerous human and animal health organisations worldwide to support World Rabies Day today by creating awareness that rabies is 100% preventable.
World Rabies Day is the single largest rabies education and outreach initiative and is observed each year in about 135 countries.
It aims to educate people about the risk of rabies, to promote global awareness of its prevention, and to mobilise resources to support local rabies prevention programmes in as many countries as possible.
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system.
Rabies can be transmitted to animals and humans mainly through a bite, but also through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal.
Rabies has been reported throughout South Africa and in almost all types of domestic animals and a number of wild animals. However, 99% of cases are transmitted through contact with infected dogs.
According, to Jean-Antoine Zinsou, from Sanofi Pasteur who is one of the companies that have partnered with the department of health, more than 55 000 people die each year, more than half of them in Africa, with the most vulnerable being children.
“Children are likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches due to them being in close contact with dogs and cats, which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies, and are less likely to tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred,” he said.
Zinsou said if not treated immediately before the virus reaches the central nervous system and the symptoms of the disease appear rabies is fatal to both animals and humans.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Merial South Africa will be sponsoring the vaccination of 500 dogs at the Noordgesig Sports Grounds on Major Street, Soweto at 2pm today.
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