KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture and Rural Development on intensifying campaign against the spike of rabies

The KwaZulu-Natal Province is intensifying the campaign against the spike of rabies.

A new spike of rabies has been registered in the province starting in the King Cetshwayo District (Between Eshowe to Richards Bay in particular) and moving south through Ilembe District (Ndwedwe, Maphumulo) and into Inanda township in Durban. KZN Veterinary staff have reduced animal rabies by 90% in the province over a period of time since 2007 (473 cases down to 47). Until recently, the province has been human rabies free, working in partnership with World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation conducted mass dog vaccination programs that broke the disease across the province, and established KZN as the Africa leader in rabies control.

It is against this backdrop that the recent death of a two-year old baby in Ilembe District on the 29th of August 2017, shocked the Department and has strengthened our resolve to fight and combat it so that no additional life must be lost through rabies.

The Province is now on a massive drive to eliminate rabies completely in order to prevent more human deaths. What is we are targeting is the vaccination of more than 70% of the dogs in these Districts as they remain the main source of the disease for the rest of province. We have taken a decision to set aside a budget for the next six month intensification of the vaccination programme, especially in rural areas working with local authorities.

1. Our immediate response:

Meetings have been held in these three Districts. Rabies Project Office at Head Office, will coordinate centrally the campaign.

This week, our local teams have been conducting the vaccination drives in several of the key areas. Appellsbosch; Ozwathini; Inanda; Umlalazi. These are local campaigns around current outbreaks using local staff as part of a mass response.

Provisional educational material, vaccine and consumables have been distributed to areas.

2. Mass intervention:

Separate small teams utilizing the provinces mobile primary health care vehicles will conduct educational visits to local schools across districts. Engagement is being made to get Health department to assist along with local NGO's Rotary in Eshowe and the Eshowe rabies education group to amplify government effort.

Mass vaccination and education Campaigns are planned to sweep across the entire affected belt in the province, from Inanda to Richards bay. Our Vets and technicians from other Districts will be deployed for more capacity to concentrate mainly on these affected areas with mobile animal clinics to cover as many households with dogs and other domesticated animals as possible.

As part of awareness, communication strategy which involves media platforms such as radios, community newspapers and social media is being finalized.

Source: Government of South Africa