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PIA Press Release

Davao Norte intensifies rabies drive

by RG Alama

Davao City (1 September) -- Admitting that it has one of the highest in dog bite cases in the region, the province of Davao del Norte is intensifying its rabies control program and is keen in reducing the incidence of dog bite cases, a major cause in the transmission of the deadly rabies virus.

Renato Embate, Provincial Veterinarian of Davao del Norte said that the province will be celebrating World Rabies Day on Sept. 8 by providing animal health services like the giving of anti-rabies vaccines to pet dogs, consultations and symposium on responsible pet ownership it will also serve as an information drive about rabies. St. Mary's College in Tagum City will host one symposium this World Rabies Day.

"I encourage every pet owner to avail of free anti-rabies shots for their pet dogs. Any breed of dog can avail of our vaccines, " Embate said. He added that prevention is better than a cure as anti-rabies vaccines for humans can be costly. "One aspect of prevention is by being a responsible pet owner, the Provincial Vet said.

He said that the Vet office has recorded at least four cases of rabid dogs in the province. One person in Barangay Pagsabangan in Tagum City died of rabies which was transferred to him by a rabid pet pup.

Meanwhile Dr. Agapito Hornido, Provincial Health Officer said that the Province allocates at least P400,000 worth of anti-rabies vaccines for people who will avail of it and there is a pending proposal coming from the Vice-Governor's office to increase the amount to P1 million.

"We have a high incidence of dog bite cases perhaps one of the highest in the region." Hornido said. He added that many indigents coming to the office are dog bite cases in need of anti-rabies shots.

He said that once, anti-rabies vaccines for humans were administered in Davao Regional Hospital, Kapalong District Hospital, Samal District Hospital and Carmen District Hospitals but Hornido sensed that the system of clustering was putting the vaccines into waste. He instead centralized the animal bite center at the Provincial Health Office in Carmen.

He also shared about the new WHO (World Health Organization) protocols on rabies vaccination in which a person will need only one shot of vaccine when it is observed that the dog who bit him, did not exhibit rabid symptoms, 14 days after the person was bitten. The new protocol would save on vaccines as in the past a bitten person will undergo a series of rabies vaccinations.

Hornido also said that talks are underway for an NGO to put up a rabies vaccine center in the province, which aims to lower the costs of rabies vaccines. (PIA XI) [top]

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