The Western Cape is collaborating with stakeholders to identify and respond to potential rabies outbreaks.

Posted on June 12, 2024
by Yashmika Dukaran

The Agriculture Department of the Western Cape is collaborating with Veterinary Services and the Fisheries and Coastal Management Department to pinpoint the source of a rabies outbreak in the province.

They are conducting sample testing to determine the outbreak's scope. Three suspected rabies cases have been identified in Cape fur seals in Blouberg, Strand, and Muizenberg. Provincial authorities urge the public to refrain from interacting with seals or wildlife. In response to last month's outbreak reports, a case of rabies was confirmed in a pet dog in the Capri area of the Southern Peninsula in Cape Town. State Veterinarian Dr. Vivien Malan states that both the infected dog and a younger injured dog from the same household were euthanized. The infection source remains unclear as neither dog had recently traveled outside the province. Dr. Malan emphasizes the disease's severity, highlighting its 100% fatality rate if symptoms manifest, and underscores the importance of pet vaccination. Local animal welfare organizations, private veterinary practices, and Western Cape veterinary services will conduct vaccination campaigns in the outbreak area. Additionally, here are some facts about rabies from the World Health Organization: it's a vaccine-preventable viral disease affecting the central nervous system, primarily transmitted by dogs, and is virtually 100% fatal once clinical symptoms appear.

In North West's Taung rural areas, the Department of Agriculture has initiated livestock vaccination to contain the rabies spread, starting in Mamusa farms and extending to two areas in Taung.