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Warning: Get your employees vaccinated for rabies today if they work in KZN!

by , 24 June 2013
Rabies isn't something you'd normally put as a priority on your company's health and safety risks to prevent, but that could change if you're based or your employees work in KwaZulu Natal. This after reports that four people recently died of rabies in the province have surfaced. Here's why you should be worried...

'A KwaZulu-Natal man has been hospitalised with suspected rabies, contracted from his dog,' the Agriculture and Environmental Affairs Department told iafrica yesterday.

This comes just days after a 45-year-old farmer was admitted to a hospital in Empangeni after being suspected of contracting rabies as well, adds The Citizen.

And the authorities are worried – especially since four people have died from rabies recently.

But it's not the first time rabies has been high on KZN's warning list!

Last year, the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government made massive inroads to boost the province's capacity to deal with the outbreak of rabies by setting up a task team to develop an intervention strategy, reports sanews.gov.za.

But since rabies is endemic in South Africa – particularly in rural areas like KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape – it's vital you do what you can to protect your employees in

If an employee gets rabies while on the job, you could be held liable

The health and safety risk for your employees is two-fold.

After all, 'people who work outdoors stand a good chance of encountering snakes, spiders, scorpions and other animals like dogs which can result in potentially harmful effects on your employees,' explains The Health and Safety Advisor. And travelling employees are also at an increased risk.

So if you're based in KZN or have employees working or travelling there, it's up to you to ensure you've done everything you can to protect them from harm. And that includes making sure they know what steps to take if they're bitten, scratched or licked by a rabid animal.

Here's what you need to do if your employee thinks he's come into contact with rabies:

  • Wash the wound vigorously with soap and water.
  • Apply virucidal treatment such as alcohol or iodine.
  • Seek immediate medical attention and ask the doctor for a tetanus vaccine.
  • Get the doctor to test for rabies immediately. If tests are positive, get the doctor to administer rabies immunoglobulin (Rabigam) and the vaccine (Verorab) right away.

So there you have it! By ensuring your employee understands what to do if he suspects he's come into contact with rabies, you can rest assured knowing you've done everything in your power for ensure his health and safety while on the job.

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