The North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will embark on a mass rabies vaccination rollout.

The vaccination rollout will start from Thursday, 1 September 2022.

This as the department has called on pet owners across the province to take precaution and take their pets to the nearest State veterinary clinics for vaccination.

“The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘Zero by 30: Our catalytic response’ and is part of the global goal of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030, worldwide,” the department.

Although rabies is 100% preventable, the department warned that it is estimated that at least 59 000 people die annually from rabies.

“That is one person every nine minutes of every day, 40% of whom are children living in Africa and Asia.”

The disease is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of the affected animal and human being, resulting in death. The virus enters the body from saliva of infected animals through a bite wound or infected saliva getting direct access to mucous membranes of victim animals or human beings.

“The exposure may include bites, but it is important to note that small nicks that break the skin or even licks of the eyes, nose and mouth are regarded as exposure,” the department noted.

Clinical signs in a positive rabies case include a dysfunctional nervous system, and they are classified either as “dumb form” or “aggressive form”.

In the dumb form, the animals show signs of lethargy and progress to facial paralysis, whilst in the aggressive form, they show signs of extreme aggression and as they are paralysed in the face, they tend to produce a lot of infective saliva.

Some animals may simply show hindquarter paralysis.

“Experts say that it is important for communities to note that all domestic animals and human beings are susceptible to rabies and that human beings are extremely susceptible to the disease,” the department said.

Community members are also advised to report any suspicious human symptoms of rabies to any health facility in the province.

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter