A 78-year-old Bikita granny is battling for her life at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo after she was gored by a raging ox which was later confirmed to have been infected by rabies.
Most people associate rabies only with snarling mad dogs, foaming at the mouth but livestock are also susceptible to the maddening virus.
The rabies virus can infect all warm-blooded animals and is always fatal. Caused by a virus that affects the nervous system, it is transmitted by saliva of an infected animal – usually via a bite, by saliva coming in contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth) or an opening in the skin.
On the fateful day, Angeline Zendere was at her home alone when her neighbour’s ox got into her yard to feed on the dry maize stalks.
Zendere, who is said to have been in her kitchen hut, got out to chase the cattle away but one of the cattle charged and viciously attacked her.
“She was in her kitchen when a herd of cattle entered her yard to feed on the dry maize stalks. The maize stalks are reserved for her own livestock so she got out to drive the other cattle away.
“Just a few steps from her kitchen hut, an ox charged at her and started attacking her, injuring her badly. The ox hooked her with its horns and threw her into the air and picked her up again numerous times. She was trampled on until she lost consciousness. The ox belonged to her neighbour,” said a source privy to the developments.
Zendere’s daughter-in-law is said to have rushed to the rescue with a wooden log but the cattle is said to have charged at her as well.
“The daughter in law was visiting and she saw the whole incident and rushed to the rescue with a wooden log. The log could not do her any good as she was also attacked by the mad ox. She was fortunate enough to fall onto the ground on the first attack and the ox failed to pick her up with its horns.
“As the ox attacked the daughter in law, she screamed for help from neighbours who alerted other people,” said the source.
The source told TellZim News that the ox charged at the group of villagers who were armed with axes and they fought back until they killed it.
Zendere and her daughter-in-law were taken to a clinic at Nyika growth point where the in-law was treated and discharged while Zendere was immediately transferred to Masvingo Provincial Hospital.
Zendere was later transferred to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo where she is said to be admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Staff from the district Veterinary Services Department arrived at the scene when the villagers had already killed the ox.
Masvingo provincial veterinary head, Ernest Dzimwasha, as was expected, professed ignorance on the matter saying he had not received a report.
“You are telling me for the first time. I have not received a report on that,” said Dzimwasha, who was recently criticised for sleeping on duty at a time the province was losing hundreds of cattle to tick-borne diseases.