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PIA Press Release
2010/03/29

Children cautioned vs irritable dogs due to summer heat

Cebuanos celebrate Rabies Awareness Month

Cebu City (29 March) -- Just like any human being, dogs tend to get irritable when the heat is just too much to bear. It is thus with caution that children are advised not to provoke dogs especially as the summer heat is just scorching hot compounded by the El Niņo phenomenon that could drive a dog to bite with the possibility of developing rabies.

Department of Health (DOH-7) Regional Rabies Program Coordinator Joy Tabotabo in a recent PIA Kapihan said that most victims of the rabies disease are schoolchildren and usually incidents happened during the vacation break.

Tabotabo explained this is the reason why rabies cases tend to go up during the summer break.

"Fifty percent of rabies cases last year involved schoolchildren below 15 years old," Tabotabo bared.

Rabies virus is fatal but it is preventable as Tabotabo urged dog owners to exercise responsible pet ownership and subject their dogs to rabies vaccination amid the celebration of March as Rabies Awareness Month under the theme "Working Together for a Rabies Free Philippines."

Since January this year, three persons have died in Cebu due to the rabies virus while another suspected case is still under investigation as to the exact cause of death, this is learned.

"We are involving the Dep Ed to help us in the awareness campaign especially among the schoolchildren," according to Cebu City Vterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang.

Utlang advised that when one gets bitten by a dog, he or she should just immediately wash the area with plain soap and water and apply a tincture of iodine.

"Please do not resort to a tandok method such as applying vinegar and garlic because the wound would just get infected," Utlang said.

Tabotabo said Central Visayas placed ninth overall among regions with the most number of rabies cases last year.

The DOH-7 has established 24 animal bite treatment centers to cater to persons who have been bitten by dogs.

"The DOH-7 already provides one to two free doses of vaccines against the rabies virus where treatment is done in the animal bite treatment centers," according to Tabotabo.

Tabotabo however, said the complete treatment needs four doses of vaccines which should now be shouldered by the patient.

Utlang on the other hand, said under the law, the owner of the dog who bit the person is responsible for paying the necessary medical bills that would incur during the treatment period.

Both Tanotabo and Utlang said rabies is fatal but it is highly preventable as both officials urged pet owners to be responsible in caring for their pets. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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