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MEC launches rabies awareness campaign

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Mase Manopole distributed rabies vaccines and awareness pamphlets throughout Kimberley.

The MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mase Manopole, launched a rabies awareness campaign. Picture: Supplied.

THE MEC for Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development, Mase Manopole, launched a rabies awareness campaign on Thursday by distributing rabies vaccines and awareness pamphlets throughout Kimberley.

She started the day at the SPCA, where she handed over vaccines for the cats and dogs, and then proceeded to veterinary clinics and laboratories to do the same.

Kimberley Veterinary Clinic, Vets 4 All and the Belgravia Veterinary Clinic all received rabies vaccinations to enable them to vaccinate animals for free for this month.

The handover was part of the effort to eliminate dog-mediated human rabies by the year 2030.

The rabies awareness drive will see 10 000 dogs vaccinated in the whole Province, according to Manopole.

World Rabies Month is celebrated every year in September, with the main day marked on the 28th.

The Northern Cape is observing Rabies Month under the theme ‘End Rabies: Collaborate, Vaccinate.’

Approximately 14 829 vaccinations have been performed on 12 309 dogs and on 175 cats in this financial year.

Manopole indicated that the Province will continue the awareness campaigns for the next three months.

She called on all stakeholders to join hands and collaborate in efforts to fight the fatal rabies disease.

She explained that rabies is caused by a virus which is shed in the saliva of an animal and is spread through the bite of an infected animal.

“It is a fatal disease causing the death of around 59 000 people per year worldwide. About 23 rabies cases have been reported in Kimberley, Springbok, Upington, and De Aar,” she indicated.

“In the Province, people are mostly infected through the bites of infected dogs, cats and other wild animals.”

Manopole promised that her department will continue with its efforts on rabies awareness campaigns and vaccinations while observing all Covid-19 protocols.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it very difficult for the department to hold rabies vaccination campaigns this year. However, through its various state veterinary offices across the Province, the department will embark on an elaborative programme to raise awareness on the devastating effects of rabies.

The department will perform free rabies vaccination of pets at the Mayibuye Centre in Galeshewe on October 9 from 8am.

“A register of people will be kept and no person will be allowed entry without a mask.

“We also call on pet owners to visit their nearest state veterinary offices across the Provinces for a free vaccination.”

An inspector at the SPCA, Mario van der Westhuizen, expressed his gratitude for government intervention in allocating rabies vaccines.

“We are very grateful to the MEC for helping us as we can help a lot of people now,” said Van der Westhuizen.