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PIA Press Release

Cebu City to be rabies-free by 2010

Cebu City (12 September) -- Cebu City intends to become a rabies-free metropolis by 2010 in spite of having the most number of animal rabies cases in the province.

Cebu City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang in this morning's Kaphan sa PIA at Club Ultima on rabies bared it is unfair to rank the city as the top placer in animal rabies cases as the figure is just reflective of the growing public awareness based on the increasing number of (dog) samples submitted to the Department of Agriculture (DA-7) diagnostic laboratory for the rabies disease testing.

Utlang also said Cebu City cannot be compared with the other cities in the province as its population alone is a major factor for a bigger dog population. Filipinos are known to keep dogs either as pets or as house guards, this is learned.

DA-7 rabies control program coordinator Rachel Cadeleņa said Cebu City has the highest number of animal rabies cases for this year followed by Lapulapu City but did not however, give out statistics.

Cebu on the other hand, tops in the region with the highest incidence of animal rabies cases while Central Visayas ranks fourth nationwide in the number of animal rabies cases, according to Cadeleņa.

From January to August this year, a total of 90 (dog) heads from Cebu have been submitted to the DA-7 diagnostic laboratory for rabies testing. Out of the 90 cases, 18 samples have been found to be positive of rabies while 69 cases were found negative and three samples were deem unfit for testing, Cadeleņa said.

Bohol and Oriental Negros for the first eight months this year recorded two positive animal rabies cases, this is said.

Cadeleņa however clarified, that the figure is merely based on the number of samples requested for rabies testing at the DA-7 laboratory so the data cannot be conclusively used as basis to rank areas as having the highest or lowest animal rabies incidence.

For Cebu City, Cadeleņa cited six barangays with having records of animal rabies cases namely Talamban, Pardo, Mabolo, Inayawan, Lahug and Basak. Six towns in the province were also noted as having a record of animal rabies cases which are Boljoon, Sibonga, Sta. Fe, Ronda, San Fernando and Cordova and one city which is Lapulapu, Cadeleņa pointed out.

As Cebu City intends to become a rabies-free zone by 2010, Utlang said they are strengthening their efforts on stray dog impounding and advocacy drive on responsible pet ownership which has bore fruit as from January to August this year witnessed a 59 percent decline in animal rabies incidence with 20 cases at present compared to last year's 27 cases in the same period.

The city veterinarian said there is no case of human rabies.

Utlang said the city government has been very responsive to its rabies control and prevention program as over P1M is set aside for the anti-rabies campaign. The impounding services of the Cebu City Veterinarian's Office which is a 24-hour seven-days-a-week task aside from their dog vaccination home services are proof enough of the city government's commitment to make Cebu City rabies-free which is more favorable to tourism development.

Last September 8, the Philippines joined the global celebration of World Rabies Day.(PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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