Original Research

A dog bite study in a dog rabies-affected area in South Africa

Jacqueline Weyer, Chantel A. le Roux, Charles Kajese, Lucy Fernandes
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 35, No 1 | a65 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v35i1.65 | © 2020 Jacqueline Weyer, Chantel A. le Roux, Charles Kajese, Lucy Fernandes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 May 2019 | Published: 22 June 2020

About the author(s)

Jacqueline Weyer, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham, South Africa; and School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Medunsa, South Africa
Chantel A. le Roux, Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham, South Africa
Charles Kajese, Surveillance Information Management Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Sandringham, South Africa
Lucy Fernandes, School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Public Health, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Medunsa, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Rabies is an untreatable and highly fatal viral zoonosis. Despite the ability to control and prevent the disease, it is estimated that one person dies of rabies every 10 minutes in developing countries. However, the true burden of the disease remains undefined in most developing countries because of a lack of systematic surveillance. Dog bite data obtained from healthcare facilities where dog bite victims seek medical care may provide an additional source of information that can be used to inform the burden of disease and identify points for interventions for improved delivery of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent the disease.

Methods: A descriptive epidemiological study was conducted using data obtained from dog bite registers and patient case files at a healthcare facility for a two year period (2015-2017).

Results: The study reported frequency, demographics, source, geographic and temporal distribution of bite cases reported to a hospital serving a rabies-affected community. In addition, the post-exposure management of dog bite cases at this facility is described.

Conclusion: Dog bites was not an infrequently reported at the healthcare facility, with up to 29 cases reported in a month during the study period. The affected population was defined and it is motivated that this information is useful for targeted health interventions. Findings related to the delivery of PEP may also be used to direct training and re-training of healthcare workers for improved delivery of PEP.


Keywords

rabies; dog bites; rabies vaccine; rabies immunoglobulin; rabies post-exposure prophylaxis; South Africa.

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