Rabies is a fatal viral disease that affects both humans and other mammals, causing inflammation of the brain. The disease spreads when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human that has not been vaccinated against the disease. Once an animal gets infected with the virus, the threat of the disease spreading is very high. It is of utmost importance that an area that shares boundaries with wildlife reserves be kept healthy and free of rabies, as part of maintaining an optimal One Health system. Hluvukani Village in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, borders the Kruger national park and, situated at a human-wildlife-domestic animal interface, is a prime example of such a boundary. Contact between livestock and wildlife is common, as they graze on opposite ends of a rickety fence.
Dr Francis Kolo, of the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria (UP), conducted a study on the demography of the owned, free-roaming dog population of Hluvukani, analysing the mortality and survival rates of adult dogs and puppies in an effort to determine the prevalence, if any, of rabies in the area and the causes of mortality in the population.
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Short news snippets with colour photos about what's happening at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria.