Journal of the South African Veterinary Association
On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
SABETA, Claude T et al. Emergence of rabies in the Gauteng Province, South Africa: 2010-2011. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2013, vol.84, n.1, pp. 00-00. ISSN 2224-9435.
Canine rabies is enzootic throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, including the Republic of South Africa. Historically, in South Africa the coastal provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape were most affected. Alarmingly, outbreaks of canine rabies have been increasingly reported in the past decade from sites where it has previously been under control. From January 2010 to December 2011, 53 animal rabies cases were confirmed; these were mostly in domestic dogs from southern Johannesburg, which was previously considered to be rabies free. In addition, one case was confirmed in a 26-month old girl who had been scratched by a pet puppy during this period. The introduction of rabies into Gauteng Province was investigated through genetic analysis of rabies positive samples confirmed during the outbreak period. In addition, the nucleotide sequences of incidental cases reported in the province for the past ten years were also included in the analysis. It was found that the recent canine rabies outbreak in the Gauteng Province came from the introduction of the rabies virus from KwaZulu-Natal, with subsequent local spread in the susceptible domestic dog population of southern Johannesburg. The vulnerability of the province was also highlighted through multiple, deadend introductions in the past ten years. This is the first report of a rabies outbreak in the greater Johannesburg area with evidence of local transmission in the domestic dog population.