Heatonville farmer suspected of contracting rabies

An unnamed farmer in the Heatonville area of northern KwaZulu-Natal has reportedly been admitted to a private hospital, after possibly having contracted rabies.

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The KZN Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, which had over 600 000 animals vaccinated against this dreaded disease in 2012, said that the farmer’s family reported that the man may have contracted the disease from a wound on his leg caused by a dog that later died and tested positive for rabies.

“When admitted to the hospital the 45-year old farmer was in a depressed state, nervous and stressed,” said KZN DAEA spokesperson, Jeffrey Zikhali. “Three tests have been conducted to determine whether he has rabies and two [of these tests] came back negative. The results of the third test will be available in a week’s time.”

KZN was exceptionally hard-hit during 2012 by a rabies epidemic. Despite extensive efforts to thwart the disease’s spread through the widespread animal vaccination campaign, four people still died after being bitten by infected animals.

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