World Rabies Day: How to avoid contracting rabies

World Rabies Day: How to avoid contracting rabies

September 28 marks World Rabies Day. Here are symptoms to look out for and how you can lower your chances of being infected. 

Nurse in scrubs uniform posing with dog holding syringe
Nurse in scrubs uniform posing with dog holding syringe/ iStock

Although human rabies cases are rare in South Africa, they still occur and can be reduced. 

IOL reported that there were 13 laboratory-confirmed and six probable cases of human rabies reported in 2022. 

Rabies mostly affects different wild and domestic animal species. In South Africa, dogs are often affected. 

People get rabies after being bitten by rabid animals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports: 'It is also possible, but rare, for people to get rabies from non-bite exposures, which can include scratches, abrasions, or open wounds that are exposed to saliva or other potentially infectious material from a rabid animal'. 

READ: Rabies claims life of boy (9) in Nelson Mandela Bay

Mayo Clinic reports the following symptoms: 









Difficulty swallowing

Excessive salivation

Fear brought on by attempts to drink fluids because of difficulty swallowing water

Fear brought on by air blown on the face



Partial paralysis

The best way to prevent rabies is to have your pets regularly checked by a vet and ensure that their rabies vaccination is up to date. 

According to NICD, if you have been exposed to rabies, you should wash all wounds immediately with soap or detergent and flush them thoroughly for 5 to 10 minutes with water and go immediately to a nearby health facility.

Read more about rabies disease: South African rabies outbreak: Everything you need to know

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