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PIA Press Release

Imee urges community to work on zero-rabies province

by Cristina Arzadon

Laoag City (24 September) -- Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has encouraged residents to work on having a rabies-free community by becoming advocates of rabies freedom.

Marcos advised leaders and the general public to increase their awareness-levels about rabies and its effects as the local government tries to achieve a zero-rabies community.

"Rabies is highly preventable. Preventing rabies is saving limbs and lives of people. Having a rabies-free community is providing a healthy and safe province as we envision Ilocos Norte as the tourism hub of the North," Marcos said.

For its part, the Provincial Veterinary Office has lined up various activities to mark World Rabies Day on September 28 ranging from folk media competition, press briefing, video viewing and pet shows. The PVO will likewise conduct a day-long vaccination of pets on that day.

Rabies has remained a dangerous disease of animals transmissible to humans through bites, scratches or licks on open wounds. It is transmitted to other animals through contact with virus-laden saliva from a rabid animal.

In the Philippines, the most common sources of infection are dogs and cats.

The Department of Health has estimated that 300 to 600 Filipinos die of rabies each year. At least 50 percent of victims are children aged 5 to 14 years.

The DOH has recognized that rabies remains a public health problem in the country despite the enactment of Republic Act 9482, otherwise known as the Rabies Act of 2007 which seeks to eradicate rabies in the Philippines by 2020.

In 2007, there were 833 reported rabies cases in the country with a rate of 1.0 per 100,000 population.

In recent years, the Philippines ranked fifth in the rabies list of the World Health Organization in terms of prevalence in a specific area.

Rabies is a highly misunderstood disease among Filipinos. Only a few know that an inch-long scratch or a playful lick on an open wound can cost a person's life.

Many, especially those in rural areas, still believe that garlic and a few drops of vinegar can cure rabies. Tandoks or faith healers - people believed to have the power to eliminate the virus from the body with the use of a stone (called batong buhay) or by sucking with the use of a carabao horn or an animal bone are widely accepted as a wiser and more economical alternative to post-exposure treatment or vaccination. (PIA Ilocos Norte) [top]

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