A massive vaccination drive is under way in Kouga following more than 20 confirmed cases of rabies in the Nelson Mandela Metro earlier this week.
The campaign – a joint initiative between Kouga Municipality, Humansdorp SPCA and JBay Animal Rescue Sanctuary – will start in Loerie next to the clinic/ community hall at 10:00 today.
On Saturday, August 28 the campaign will continue in Thornhill at the open space next to the tip at 10:00, while vaccinations will be administered at the Humansdorp SCPA in KwaNomzamo at 10:00 on Tuesday, August 31.
On September 1, animals will be vaccinated at the car park in front of the JBay Animal Rescue Sanctuary in Jeffreys Bay at 10, followed by a vaccination drive at Sea Vista in St Francis Bay at 14:00.
Vaccination drives will also take place in Arcadia, Hankey and Patensie. More information will follow soon.
Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in a box.
Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said rabies was a deadly disease which affected both people and animals.
“It is, therefore, critical that we prevent the virus from spreading by creating a ‘safe zone’ of vaccinated animals,” he said. “The more animals are vaccinated, the lower the risk that people will contract it as well.”
Rabies was transmissible to humans via saliva or a bite from an infected animal – symptoms can include sudden aggression, salivation, difficulty walking, falling over or struggling to swallow.
“If a member of the public thinks they have had contact with a rabid dog, the first step is to present the dog to the SPCA or their vet so that the diagnosis can be confirmed,” said Hendricks.
“If the dog is too aggressive to handle, the SPCA must be notified telephonically.
“If the veterinary officials agree that the animal has symptoms of rabies, the animal will be euthanised and sent for rabies testing.
People who have been exposed to the dog will be identified and referred to a medical facility for further information and treatment.”
He said if a person received treatment early, the disease was curable, but if no action is taken, once symptoms develop, anything from 10 days to six months later, treatment is unsuccessful.