Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 10:08 am
How can rabies be prevented
Rabies is 100% preventable and vaccination remains the cornerstone of prevention.
The rabies vaccine can be administered before exposure to the virus (pre-exposure prophylaxis) or immediately after contact with an infected animal (post-exposure prophylaxis). In more serious exposures, patients may also receive rabies immunoglobulin to provide passive immunity against the rabies virus.
In areas known for rabies, including Africa and certain Asian countries (such as India), humans who come into frequent contact with animals, such as veterinarians, animal handlers and game rangers, as well as travellers to high risk areas, should also consider pre-exposure vaccination.
How to protect yourself
Make sure your children know that they should avoid touching stray or unfamiliar cats or dogs, no matter how friendly they seem.
Get your pets vaccinated. It is a legal requirement that all pets are regularly vaccinated by a veterinarian against rabies. Dogs and cats should be vaccinated at three months of age, with a booster vaccination within one to nine months and then every three years afterwards. In high risk areas, annual re-vaccination is recommended.
Rabies vaccinations for humans are available from regional hospitals, pharmacies including Dis-Chem clinics, Medicross, Netcare, Mediclinic, Intercare, many travel clinics including Global Travel Clinic as well as Health-Worx and Clinix.
What should you do if exposed to rabies?
If bitten or scratched by an animal that could have rabies, treat it like a medical emergency. Wash the wounds with soap and copious amount of water, without scrubbing. Apply an antiseptic, ethanol or iodine and seek medical attention immediately to receive the proper post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment.
Support World Rabies Day
Spread the word via Facebook and Twitter for World Rabies Day on Sunday, 28 September and use the hashtag #togetheragainstrabies when you do.
â??Rabies is a neglected disease. Despite basic solutions for the disease (methodology, biologics) being known and available, there has been a lack of progress in dog rabies control in vast areas of the world and those responsible have failed to respond appropriately,â? says Professor Louis Nel, Executive Director for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC).
â??Universal awareness of the neglect of rabies and the potential for elimination of the disease through effective advocacy and communication mechanisms, and supporting professional networks of the highest calibre [is key]. â?
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