South Africa reports 13th confirmed human rabies case of 2022

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The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported a confirmed case of human rabies in Limpopo Province in December 2022.

Photo/Robert Herrmann

The case is of an 8-year-old boy from Mbukota Village, Makhado Municipality, Vimbe Province.

He was taken to hospital with fever, confusion, delirium, difficulty breathing, and hemiplegia. On examination, in addition to the above, the child had mouth ulcers and thrush, septic swelling of the lower lip, swelling around the eyes with discharge and discharge from his ears. Signs of mild cerebral edema were noted.

Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detected rabies virus RNA in a premortem saliva sample collected. Details of possible exposure to a dog bite are still unknown.

As of 13 December 2022, a total of 13 laboratory-confirmed human rabies cases have been reported in South Africa. These cases were from the Eastern Cape Province (n = 7), Limpopo (n = 4, including the case reported here) and KwaZulu-Natal (n = 2). Six other probable cases (that is, clinically and epidemiologically consistent with a diagnosis of rabies, but without laboratory confirmation) were identified. These cases were reported from the Eastern Cape Province (n = 5) and KwaZulu-Natal Province (n = 1).

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