A nine-year-old boy from KwaZulu-Natal died last month after contracting rabies.

In the National Institute for Communicable Diseases’ (NICD) last report, it revealed that there two new cases of human rabies in South Africa were identified.

That included one laboratory confirmed case and one probable case.

According to the NICD’s Communicable Diseases Communiqué for August, two human rabies cases have been laboratory confirmed in South Africa (including the case reported here).

These cases were reported from Limpopo and KZN provinces. In addition, three probable cases were reported (including one case reported here) from KZN, Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces.

“Rabies was confirmed in a nine-year-old boy from Umbumbulu area, eThekwini. The child fell ill during the first week of August, reportedly with flu-like symptoms including high fever and fatigue. The child later presented with anorexia, refusal of fluids and sleepiness. The child was also irritable, complaining of itchy feet, which he scratched profusely. He was subsequently admitted to a hospital,” the communiqué said.

“During hospitalisation, it was noted that the patient was confused and experiencing hallucinations. Saliva samples were submitted to the NICD for rabies RT-PCR and tested positive, confirming the diagnosis of rabies. The child died on August 18. The exposure history of the child is not confirmed, but a neighbour’s dog may have bitten the child two months before onset of illness. Reportedly, the animal died shortly thereafter but was disposed of and not submitted for investigation.”

Meanwhile, a probable case of a 12-year-old girl from Thohoyandou in Limpopo, was reported. The child had behavioural changes at school, was vomiting and had abdominal pain. She later became restless and had a reduced level of consciousness. She died on July 22, a day after hospital admission.

“Allegedly, a neighbour’s dog scratched her but the circumstances were vague and the child never received rabies postexposure prophylaxis. A blood sample submitted for the patient was not adequate for testing. Given the patient’s clinical presentation and possible history of rabies exposure, the case was classified as a probable case of rabies as laboratory confirmation was not possible,” the communiqué said.

The first laboratory confirmed rabies case for 2020 was diagnosed in July, a five-year-old boy that was bitten by a dog in May 2020.

KZN was one of two probable cases of rabies, the other was from the Eastern Cape. Those cases were not laboratory confirmed but resented with clinical and epidemiological histories compatible with a diagnosis of rabies.

Daily News

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