Upon learning about the recent Rabies outbreak in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Ballito resident, Mark Taylor,40, has shared his story in hopes 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 still be alive. Waiting for the traffic to clear, Mark rushed to the dog’s aid in hopes to rehabilitate the poor creature.
“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 to form a cut about 10cm long from my ear down to my jawbone. The dog then ran away until I managed to catch it and take it to a nearby vet” – Mark recalls.
When Mark arrived at the vet, the doctor voiced his concern that the dog might have rabies on account of the canine’s erratic behaviour. As a precautionary measure the vet tended to Mark’s open wound and sent him to a nearby 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.
“The experience weighed heavily on me psychologically and still today I struggle to wrap my head around the ‘What If’s’. 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. It is for this reason that one needs to ensure that one goes for the necessary treatment as soon as one has received a bite or a scratch from any stray animal including dogs, cats, rats, mice etc. If the medication is administered correctly then the disease is also 100% preventable.” – says Mark.
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 on his 40th Birthday. Thus far R2 386 has been raised to assist the organisation on the front line of this epidemic.
“I hope to raise R10 000 for 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.”
Rabies Awareness Eshowe began in August 2017. To contribute go to: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/i-was-bitten-by-a-rabid-dog
Did you know: 55 000 people a year die of rabies, the majority in Asia and Africa, according to www.ecdc.europa.eu