Sarangani pushes for rabies-free province

15 Mar 2017
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ALABEL, Sarangani (March 15, 2017) – The provincial government has strengthened its campaign to lessen the cases of rabies in Sarangani by targeting 80% of the total dog population in the province immunized within the year.

This is anchored on Republic Act No. 9482 or the “Anti-Rabies Act of 2007” which provides for the control and elimination of human and animal rabies, alongside the national target to pursue the attainment of a rabies-free Philippines in 2020.

In Sarangani, three human deaths caused by rabies was recorded in 2014, two in 2015 and four deaths in 2016.

Tessie Castillo, rabies program coordinator of the Provincial Health Office (PHO), said the reported rabies cases in the province is only few but this should not be ignored because rabies is detrimental to human health.

Provincial Veterinarian Joselito Gleyo said rabies “is a 100 percent deadly disease but very preventable.”

March is the Rabies Awareness Month and Dr. Gleyo’s office is starting to vaccinate dogs as kick-off of their advocacy that would run until the end of the year. “This is to address rabies cases in Sarangani,” Gleyo said.

Aside from vaccination, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian is also conducting massive rabies community symposiums to urge the people “na makibahagi at para maintindihan nila kung ano ang rabies disease,” Gleyo said.

Rabies virus is a neurotropic virus that causes rabies in humans that occurs after a bite or scratch by infected animals like dogs and cats. It can be transmitted through infectious material like saliva of animals and less commonly through contact with human saliva that comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions.

Deaths caused by rabies, according to Gleyo, can be prevented by having dogs vaccinated and by immediately going to the nearest health centers for an examination and for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is available for free.

Castillo said the PEP human vaccines in private hospitals would cost from P4,000 to P22,000 per patient.

Based on PHO data, some of the death cases here were caused by delayed examination of the patients. Some underwent for examination and PEP when they already felt the symptoms of the virus.

According to Castillo the incubation period or “the period from the time of exposure up to the appearance of the first clinical symptoms of rabies” generally ranges from 20 to 90 days. (BEVERLY C. PAOYON /Sarangani Information Office)

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