Cape Town Urges Public to Avoid Seals After First Confirmed Case of Seal Rabies

Cape Town Urges Public to Avoid Seals After First Confirmed Case of Seal Rabies

The City of Cape Town has issued a public warning following the first confirmed case of seal rabies. The Western Cape Provincial Veterinary Services confirmed on June 7, 2024, that a Cape Fur Seal found off the coast of Big Bay tested positive for rabies.

This discovery has prompted urgent advisories for the public to maintain a safe distance from seals and to ensure pets do the same.

Confirmation and Immediate Precautions

The affected seal, which died on May 22, 2024, was tested and confirmed positive for rabies only this week. The City of Cape Town emphasizes the importance of public safety and strongly advises avoiding any contact with Cape Fur Seals.

This precaution extends across the entire Cape Peninsula coastline, not just the Atlantic side where the rabid seal was discovered.

Understanding Seal Rabies

Cape Fur Seals might appear cute and approachable, but they can become aggressive, especially if they feel threatened.

Rabies in seals can manifest in increased aggression and the potential to bite. The City urges anyone bitten by a seal to seek immediate medical attention and report the incident for rabies testing.

Steps to Take If Bitten

Individuals bitten or scratched by a seal should follow specific steps for their safety. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recommends Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for those who have had unwanted contact with a seal.

This preventative treatment can help mitigate the risk of rabies infection. Additionally, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) provides guidelines on handling such situations.

Ongoing Investigations

The City of Cape Town continues to investigate instances of seal rabies and will keep the public informed of any developments.

This recent case follows another rabies incident involving a pet dog in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town on May 31, 2024. The dog exhibited symptoms of rabies, such as fever and increased aggression, and was humanely euthanized.

Public Response and Safety Measures

The confirmation of seal rabies has raised concerns among residents and visitors who enjoy the coastal areas.

The City of Cape Town encourages the public to adhere strictly to the advisories and maintain a safe distance from seals.

This measure is crucial for the safety of both humans and pets, particularly dogs that might be curious about these marine animals.

Importance of Awareness

Raising awareness about the risks associated with rabies in seals is vital for preventing potential outbreaks and ensuring community safety.

Public cooperation with the advisories can significantly reduce the chances of rabies transmission and help protect the local wildlife.

Conclusion

The City of Cape Town’s proactive measures and public warnings aim to safeguard residents, visitors, and pets from the dangers posed by rabid seals.

Continued vigilance and adherence to safety guidelines are essential as authorities work to manage and mitigate the risks associated with this confirmed case of seal rabies.

For further updates and detailed information, the public is encouraged to follow official channels and stay informed about the latest developments in this ongoing situation.

TDPel Media

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