CALAMBA CITY, Laguna (PIA) — The Department of Health (DOH) Region 4A renewed its commitment to end the rabies disease through a strengthened awareness campaign and providing technical assistance to local government units.
DOH 4A Regional Director Ariel I. Valencia made the remark after the health agency recorded a continuous drop in rabies cases in the Calabarzon region.
DOH 4A reports showed that only seven rabies cases were recorded from January 1 to March 4, 2023, which is 42% lower compared to 12 reported cases in 2022. Rabies from dog bites remains the main source of the virus for all the reported cases in the region.
With the lower reported cases, Valencia said that their intensified efforts have reaped a positive impact on communities in the region.
“This is a good sign that our interventions are effective. Through our Regional Rabies Prevention and Control Program, technical assistance to Animal Bite Treatment Centers has been provided, and awareness-raising activities amongst communities to end human deaths from dog-mediated rabies have been intensified," the DOH Region 4A chief said.
Among the activities spearheaded by the DOH 4A include the provision of training on handling rabies cases for doctors and nurses in hospitals, city health offices, and rural health units. They also distribute free anti-rabies vaccines and equine rabies immunoglobulins to Animal Bite Treatment Centers (ABTC).
Inter-agency efforts in controlling and eliminating rabies in the region also remain steadfast through the Department of Agriculture’s mass dog vaccination and animal population control activities. The DOH 4A also intensified its advocacy and information campaigns on Responsible Pet Ownership and the Republic Act 9482 or the Anti Rabies Act of 2007.
The DOH 4A said they also provide pre-exposure prophylaxis to high-risk personnel such as veterinarians, veterinary students, dog vaccinators, and health personnel in all ABTC and rabies laboratories.
Moreover, certification of ABTC in the region remains continuous to ensure the quality of services as the DOH envisions a rabies-free Philippines by 2030 and eliminating human rabies by 2027.
Dreaded but preventable
According to DOH 4A, rabies is a 100% fatal viral disease though 100% preventable, most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Symptoms may include headache, fever, muscle spasms, paralysis, and hydrophobia. If bitten, go immediately to the nearest ABTC to receive primary care.
The DOH continues to encourage high-risk individuals and school children aged 2-10 years old in high-incidence areas to receive pre-exposure prophylaxis because of their increased risk and severity of animal bite exposure.
Moreover, responsible pet owners are likewise advised to have their pets vaccinated against the deadly viral disease. The DOH also urged the public to join the activities set by their LGU in line with the observance of Rabies Awareness Month this March. (CH/FSC/MCA)