Successful rabies control in KwaZulu Natal

KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is home to an estimated 10.6 million people (21.3% of the South African population) has three international and two provincial borders. Together with the wide distribution of dwellings in rural areas, this creates challenges for rabies control and the establishment of a rabies free area. In 2009, with international cooperation between the WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the South African authorities and other rabies experts, a pilot canine rabies elimination programme was started in KZN. In an area where rabies surveillance has always been effective, KZN was able to declare in 2011 that no recorded human deaths from rabies were observed in a one year period for the first time in over 20 years. Extensive training of health professionals and awareness raising amongst the public, together with the motivation provided by international attention have been major factors in the project’s success.

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017