Research

Epidemiology of human rabies in South Africa, 2008 - 2018

J Weyer, V Dermaux-Msimang, A Grobbelaar, C le Roux, N Moolla, J Paweska, L Blumberg

Abstract


Background. Human rabies cases continue to be reported annually in South Africa (SA). Previous investigations have shown the association between the occurrence of human rabies cases and dog rabies cases in the country.

Objectives. To describe the epidemiology of laboratory-confirmed human rabies cases in SA for the period 2008 - 2018.

Methods. A retrospective document review of laboratory-confirmed human rabies cases for the period 2008 - 2018 was performed using a case register and related documentation available from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

Results. A total of 105 human rabies cases were laboratory confirmed from 2008 to 2018, with cases reported from all the provinces of SA except the Western Cape. Children and adolescents were most affected by the disease during the study period. In almost half of the cases, medical intervention was not sought after exposure. When victims did seek healthcare, deviations from post-exposure prophylaxis protocols were reported in some cases.

Conclusions. The epidemiological trends of human rabies cases reported in SA for the period 2008 - 2018 remained largely the same as in previous reports. Dog-mediated rabies remains the main source of human rabies in SA.

 


Authors' affiliations

J Weyer, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa; Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

V Dermaux-Msimang, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

A Grobbelaar, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

C le Roux, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

N Moolla, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa; Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

J Paweska, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa; Centre for Viral Zoonoses, Department of Medical Virology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

L Blumberg, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Keywords

Rabies; Human rabies; South Africa; Rabies vaccine; Dog bite; Post-exposure prophylaxis

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(9):877-881. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i9.14324

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-08-31
Date published: 2020-08-31

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