Rabies has killed 82 children in the past four months in Angola and more needs to be done to stop stray dogs from spreading this illness, health officials said Monday.

More than a quarter of the children killed have died within the last two weeks, Agence France-Presse reports.

"In 30 years, I have never seen as many cases as this. I think we have to do a lot more about the circulation of dogs in the city," Luis Bernardino, director general of Luanda's Bernardino pediatric hospital, told AFP.

From the beginning of November through February 21, the hospital saw 83 children with rabies. All but one died, Bernardino said.

He said 13 cases were received last week, and 10 in the week before that.

The infected children are mostly between the ages of 3and 10 and come from the poor and overcrowded slum areas on the outskirts of the capital city of Luanda.

In January, authorities vaccinated more than 100,000 animals and patrols have been removing stray cats and dogs from the streets. Rabies is spread from the bites of infected animals and is almost always fatal once symptoms become present.

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