Rabies scare: The dog jumped up and bit me on the side of my face

Rabies scare: The dog jumped up and bit me on the side of my face

As of April 2018, there has been a 400% increase in the number of rabies cases, and so far this year 4 human lives have been lost to the disease.

Upon learning about the recent rabies outbreak in KwaZulu-Natal that has thus far claimed four lives, Ballito resident Mark Taylor (40) has shared his story to empower and educate others about the devastating disease.

In November 2012, Mark was on his way from Pietermaritzburg to Durban when he noticed a dog in the middle of the highway that appeared to have been hit by a car and was severely injured.

As Mark approached the dog, he noticed its head raise slightly and the animal appeared to be alive. Waiting for the traffic to clear, Mark rushed to the dog’s aid.

Being an animal lover I decided to stop and try and rescue the dog and against my better judgment laid him in the backseat of my car. As I bent over to pick up the dog it jumped up and bit me on the side of my face, resulting in a 10cm laceration from my ear down to my jawbone. The dog then ran, but I managed to catch it and take it to a nearby vet.

When Mark arrived at the vet, the doctor voiced his concern that the dog might have rabies on account of the canine’s erratic behavior.

 

As a precautionary measure the vet tended to Mark’s open wound and sent him to a near by hospital to get rabies prophylaxis injections, despite the dog’s saliva samples testing negative for the disease.

The vet recommended that the unclaimed dog be put down due to its extensive injuries and arranged that portions of the dog’s brain be tested in the lab. More comprehensive tests revealed days later that the dog had indeed contracted the deadly disease and Mark was notified to seek further treatment.

Pictured above: Mark Taylor with wife Vanessa (39) and their daughter, Xara (6)

Pictured above: Mark Taylor with wife Vanessa (39) and their daughter, Xara (6)

The experience weighed heavily on me psychologically and still today I struggle to wrap my head around the “What Ifs“. I was lucky. Many others have not been so fortunate. A concerning fact about rabies, is that once you have contracted the disease it is fatal. There is no hope for a cure. Even more alarming is the fact that rabies can manifest inside the human body up to 3 years after exposure. More people need to be aware of this disease to avoid more casualties

Inspired by the remarkable work Dr Vanessa Meyer and her team from Rabies Awareness Eshowe are doing to eradicate rabies, Mark set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, to raised funds for an organisation on the front line of this epidemic, in celebration his 40th birthday.

“I hope to raise R5000, Rabies Awareness Eshowe, to empower them to vaccinate as many animals as possible in the Ballito area. With this effort I also hope to create awareness and educate others especially those in disadvantaged or high-risk areas, so they can better protect themselves and their loved ones,” says Mark.

The campaign has so far raised R2 386.79 towards the goal of R5 000.

What is Rabies Awareness Eshowe ?

It is a community based organization based in KZN have proven invaluable in their community. The organisation began in August 2017, at the dawn of the Zululand rabies outbreak.

The Department of Agriculture has 180 field workers in a province of an estimated 1.2 million dogs. Our aim was to take some of the load off their shoulders and assist with rabies awareness. We are currently three women that see to the running of our group on a daily basis – myself, Cathy Munro, Lee-Anne Watkins as well as 11 registered vaccinators who volunteer their time and assist when we run vaccination campaigns in our area, - Dr Vanessa Meyer

Receiving no government funding the team try to keep their expenses as low as possible.

“We are fortunate to be provided with the Rabies vaccine in order to carry out our duties but have to rely on our own funds for everything else, any donations to Mark’s BackaBuddy campaign will help towards petrol and telephone calls,” says Vanessa

According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, cases have also been confirmed in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, with another possible case in the Free State. There’s cause for concern says Vanessa.

As of April 2018, we have seen a 400 percent increase in the number of rabies cases, and so far this year four human lives have tragically been lost to rabies. Rabies is the deadliest disease on earth and very close to 100 percent fatal. People die from rabies only due to lack of awareness and lack of primary health care. About 55 000 people die every year from rabies worldwide.

“Rabies is a deadly disease that can’t be ignored. It doesn’t discriminate but it can be eradicated - if we stand together” - says Mark

Donate to Mark’s BackaBuddy campaign to raise funds for Rabies Awareness Eshowe.

Credit: South Coast Herald