An intensive dog vaccination campaign has been launched by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development after rabies was found in Muldersdrift and surrounding areas

Rabies has been found in four jackals and one unvaccinated domestic dog in Muldersdrift, Komdraai and Lanseria.

Two human exposures had also been reported and both people had received appropriate preventative treatment to prevent the disease, National Institute for Communicable Diseases communication manager Nombuso Shabalala said.

“These incidents are an important reminder that vaccination of domestic dogs and cats is required by law and is the responsibility of the owners,” Shabalala said.

In 2009, rabies was found in a domestic dog in Linden.

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Rabies is nearly always fatal in animals and humans

Shabalala said thorough wound cleaning was critical, as well as post-exposure prophylaxis, along with a course of rabies vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin.

She said post-exposure prevention could prevent the disease developing in a person who had been bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal, if given timeously and correctly.

Rabies-infected jackals would appear unusually tame, and people were warned not to approach or handle these animals

Rabies risk must be considered in the following circumstances: bites and scratches, or licks on the mouth, eyes and nose from unusually tame wild animals;  bites that would seem to be unprovoked; the animal is a stray; the animal is ill; and/or an unusually aggressive domestic animal.