With World Rabies Day around the corner and a rise in cases being reported in South Africa, Funda Nenja shares how they keep the virus in check.
Mpophomeni, South Africa (14 September 2021) – One of the hot topics in the animal welfare community is Rabies. The 28th of September is World Rabies Day which aims to raise awareness but also, South Africa has seen a rise in cases over the last few weeks.
Funda Nenja, a dog training initiative, joined the conversation to share how they keep the deadly virus out of their community. Funda Nenja runs in the township of Mpophomeni, near Howick, in the KZN Midlands of South Africa. They focus on animal welfare in the area by providing dog training lessons to the children.
These lessons teach the dogs some skills but also helps the children bond with their pets and form a deeper connection. The classes help educate children in animal welfare and encourage them to show their families how to treat animals.
The classes are hosted each week, and as part of the programme, the dogs involved get checked up by the primary veterinary clinic. Any animals not inoculated yet, get it done right there.
“September is the month when rabies awareness is highlighted around the globe. Sadly South Africa is currently experiencing the worst outbreak in living memory with a frightening number of positive cases being reported every day.
Funda Nenja takes rabies very seriously as it can be fatal to both humans and animals. At our weekly primary veterinary clinic we offer free rabies inoculations to the dogs belonging to the Mpophomeni community and all dogs entering the dog school programme receive the vaccine thanks to the support of the State Veterinary Department.
In addition, in order to safeguard all our volunteers and community assistants they all are given a free course of the prophylactic rabies vaccine as they work at close quarters with the dogs from the community. Fortunately, there has not been a rabies case in the Mpophomeni area for a number of years thanks to our outreach programme.”
Rabies has been making headlines in South Africa for the last three weeks, and pet owners are being urged to get their pets vaccinated.
According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) rabies is a viral infection of the nervous system. It affects domestic and wild animals but is most commonly found in domestic dogs here in South Africa. Although a fatal infection, rabies can be controlled through vaccination of domestic dogs (and cats) and the use of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in exposed human cases.
The first annual World Rabies Day was held on the 28th of September 2007. Reach out to your nearest animal welfare organisation if you would like to offer support. They will be able to share what they are doing to help fight the virus in South Africa.