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PIA Press Release

LGUs urged to implement rabies control, prevention measures

by Rachelle Nessia

Dumaguete City (27 May) -- Provincial health and veterinary officials are urging local government units to strictly adopt rabies control and prevention measures in their areas after one human death case due to rabies was reported early this year.

Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Antonio Mutia in a consultative conference held May 26 has noted the low awareness among most communities in the grassroots level on rabies prevention and proper dog bite treatment.

This despite the existence of functional animal bite centers in the five local inter-health zones in the province.

Mutia, together with Assistant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Edgardo Barredo, both stressed the need for a heightened awareness campaign in the local communities. This includes responsible pet ownership for pet owners to keep their dogs leashed and rabies immunizations up to date and knowing what to do when bitten by an animal.

The provincial veterinarian lamented that there are still bite victims who seek out tandoks, a type of folk medicine that places a deer horn over the wound, for treatment.

The Department of Health (DOH) has declared this method ineffective since patients who received tandok treatment died either of rabies or tetanus.

Despite the reported case of one human death due to rabies last March, Mutia remains hopeful that there will be no more human deaths for the rest of this year.

The PVO has earlier targeted an ambitious goal of zero human deaths for 2010.

Mutia admitted that cases of rabies among dogs continue to persist in the province. "Hopefully we will bring it down to a minimum," he said.

Reports show that on December 26, 2009, a man from Mabinay who was visiting Dumaguete City was bitten by a dog in Brgy. Camanjac and failed to seek proper medical treatment.

The victim reportedly boarded a V-hire back to Mabinay after the incident, where he eventually succumbed to rabies on March 1 this year.

Since January to April, 2010, three animal rabies cases were recorded in the province.

The PVO is targeting to vaccinate 80% of the province's total dog population, which is now at 97,948.

However, only 12,535 of the targeted 78,358 dogs have been vaccinated so far.

Dumaguete City Veterinarian Dr. Lourdes Socorro attributes this to several factors, primary of which is that dog owners cannot handle their own pets. "It's the owner who should handle the dog during vaccination, and it's impossible for our technicians to vaccinate the dog if their owners can't handle them." (PIA/rmn) [top]

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