With the month of March named National Rabies Awareness month, the Department of Health in Davao region, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture urged the public to be aware of rabies’ implication and the preventive measures when bitten by an animal.
“It is important that we know about this disease because 99.9% of those infected with rabies die. Although not all animal bite cases evolve into rabies, it is better that we report the case immediately so that we know for sure,” Dr. Vergel Bautista, DOH Medical Coordinator for Rabies and Prevention Control in the region said on Monday.
Dr. Bautista was among the guests on Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw held at the SM City in Davao City.
He added that in the event when one is been bitten by an animal, the wound must be washed immediately with soap and proceed to the nearest animal bite center for treatment.
This first aid measure, Bautista said, could eradicate 50 per cent of the virus and may lessen the chance of rabies.
In 2016, Davao region has recorded 13 deaths due to rabies. The record, Bautista said is relatively lower compared to the 16 deaths reported in 2015.
An estimated number of 48,000 bite cases are already recorded in the region, commonly dog bite cases, he said.
Dr. Armie Capuyan, a Veterinarian from Department of Agriculture also told reporters that in the country, bites from dogs are the usual cause of rabies since it is the most common animal owned as pets.
Capuyan also called on pet owners to tie their dogs to prevent biting incidents and have them vaccinated.
“We really encourage owners to vaccinate their pets to ensure safety. We aim for the Philippines to be rabies-free by 2020,” she added.
Since October 2014, vaccines in animal bite centers all over the country are given for free.
Animal bite centers in the city are located near the City Health Office in Magallanes and in the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.