Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The incidence of dog rabies in Limpopo Province, South Africa, increased from 5 cases in 2004 to 100 in 2006. Human rabies had last been confirmed in 1981, but investigations instituted after an index case was recognized in February 2006 identified 21 confirmed, 4 probable, and 5 possible human cases between August 5, 2005, and December 31, 2006. Twelve of these case-patients were identified retrospectively because the diagnosis of rabies was not considered: 6 of these patients consulted a traditional healer, 6 had atypical manifestations with prominent abdominal symptoms, and 6 of 7 patients tested had elevated liver enzyme activity. Molecular genetic analysis indicated that outbreak virus strains were most closely related to recent canine strains from southern Zimbabwe. Delayed recognition of the human cases may have resulted from decreased clinical suspicion after many years of effective control of the disease and the occurrence of atypical clinical presentations.

Original publication





Emerging infectious diseases

Publication Date





1879 - 1886


National Institute for Communicable Diseases of the National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Animals, Cattle, Dogs, Jackals, Humans, Rabies virus, Rabies, Population Surveillance, Incidence, Disease Outbreaks, Phylogeny, Time Factors, South Africa