Durban - A Shongweni man's life is in serious danger after his pet
donkey bit him - and then tested positive for rabies.
Dave Smith must now endure an anxious few weeks before knowing if
ongoing treatment has successfully combated the infection.
Although symptoms of the viral disease can rear up years later, the
first month or so is usually critical.
The man received treatment for rabies, and it appears the treatment was done immediately, without checking whether he had developed any symptoms of rabies:
Despite his best efforts, Smith could not prise them open and had to
wait for Milo to eventually release him. That’s when he realised the
severity of the wound and feared his pet was infected with rabies.
Smith cleaned the wound, notified the vet and shot off to hospital in
Hillcrest. While he was receiving treatment - the better part of a
200ml injection into his thumb - the vet had called the animal pound
and an employee arrived to check Milo, and decided to put him down.
The donkey itself tested positive for rabies:
The carcass was taken to Pietermaritzburg and, about three hours
later, test results returned positive for rabies.
The earlier the treatment, the better:
Rabies is a viral infection transmitted by animals and attacks the
brain. Survival is not likely if untreated. The earlier the treatment,
the better the chance of survival.
In case media reports aren't sufficiently reliable, much information about rabies is confirmed in a WHO document about rabies. Note: it doesn't discuss the possibility of rabies being transmitted sexually.
It mentions the behaviour of rabid donkeys in a section titled "Q2: How is rabies transmitted?":
Horses and donkeys get aggressive and bite ferociously when they are
this is in contrast to discussing the behaviour of some other animals:
Cattle and buffaloes do not bite when they are rabid, but precautions should be taken while examining sick animals that are salivating.
It mentions that a variety of infection routes exist. It can be spread via saliva, even when there isn't biting:
The rabies virus invades the nervous system of mammals. It is primarily transmitted from the rabid animal’s saliva when it bites or scratches someone. Licks to wounds or grazed and broken skin, or to the lining of the mouth and nose, can also transmit the disease.
It also mentions that there is little treatment once rabies develops. From "Q10: Is there any specific treatment for a rabies patient?":
There is no specific treatment once rabies develops. There is almost nothing that can be done apart from keeping the patient comfortable, and free from physical pain and emotional upset.
and from "Q11: Is rabies always fatal?"
Human rabies caused by the classical rabies virus continues to be almost 100% fatal, with no specific treatment available anywhere in the world.
and you should receive treatment immediately, rather than waiting for the dog to exhibit signs of rabies. From "Q 12: Is simply observing the biting dog or cat for 10 days without starting treatment justified?"
No. In countries where rabies is prevalent in a large population of dogs and cats, it is compulsory to start treatment and keep the biting dog/cat under 10 days of observation.
While researching this, I came across Health Risks of Zoophilia/Bestiality, but this was published by the predatory journal group OMICS, and the author is a psychologist, not a medical scientist. Wikipedia's article "Zoophilia and health" has a section titled List of zoonoses which mentions rabies as a disease which can be sexually transmitted, but does not provide citations for the claim.
The articles cited in the question do not state that the individuals involved displayed symptoms of rabies, but merely stated that they received preventative treatment for rabies. Based on the information available, it is very plausible that individuals would have been given preventative medical treatment.