KZN Government moves quickly against rabies
14 Jun 2012
The Government of KwaZulu-Natal is moving swiftly to boost the province's capacity to deal effectively with the outbreak of rabies by establishing a task team to develop an intervention strategy involving various stakeholders.
The team has been instructed to ensure the Department of Health conducts a survey of deaths to establish the extent of rabies-related fatalities in the province. It will also receive a report on the intensive community awareness campaign that is focusing on, among other things:
- The provision of information about rabies to school children
- A massive vaccination drive in all high-risk areas
- Information in respect of resources needed to address the outbreak of rabies
- Active involvement and participation of police in the campaign to enforcecompliance.
The team is led by Members of the Executive Council of Health, Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Finance, Transport, Community Safety and Liaison. An academic and the South African Police Service will also be part of the team.
Three rabies deaths have been confirmed in the province this year. Cabinet has been informed that the provincial veterinary services had received an additional 100 staff and vehicles to intensify the animal rabies vaccination programme. The Department of Health is responsible for investigating all suspect human cases and for the issue of preventative vaccine therapy treatment.
The Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Hygiene Services has partnered with the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation in a five-year R16.5-million project to eradicate rabies in KwaZulu-Natal. Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize has urged the community to co-operate with the Government in facing this challenge.
"We ask everybody, in particular dog owners, to comply with the directives by authorities. The danger posed by one affected dog that has not been vaccinated is simply a matter of life and death and we should not have to involve the police to enforce compliance. Some of the dogs may have to be put down in order to limit the spread of the disease," said Dr Mkhize.
Spokesperson: Dr Zweli Mkhize - Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal
Cell: 082 375 4742
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Health
14 Jun 2012
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