Rabies deaths in PH down, but dog bites up

Posted at 09/28/2012 4:50 PM

MANILA - The city of Makati gave free anti-rabies vaccine to pet owners in Makati today, Sept. 28, to commemorate World Rabies Day.

Pet owners came with their dogs and cats to take advantage of the free vaccination. "Kailangan din naming maging responsable," said a pet owner.

According to Communities Against Rabies Exposure (CARE), rabies cases continue to cause at least 55,000 deaths a year, mostly children under 15 years.

In the Philippines, rabies claimed 208 lives in 2011, lower than 257 in 2010, said Dr. Raffy Deray, Program Manager for Rabies at the DOH.

However, the incidence of bites has been increasing, with a total of 329,000 incidence of bites in 2011, much higher than the 266,000 incidence of bites in 2010.

"This is the kind of disease wherein we tell parents and relatives, siguradong patay pag may rabies," said Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Dr. Eric Tayag.

Tayag said the key is preventing a highly preventable disease by giving dogs and cats anti-rabies vaccine once a year.

Meanwhile, Dr. Deray said if you are bitten by a dog or cat, you reduce the risk of getting rabies by 50 percent just by washing the area with soap and water for at least 10 minutes.

After washing the bite, go to the doctor who will determine if the patient will need immunization to prevent getting infected by rabies.

"Any break ng skin caused by animal bite, you might need to get post-exposure treatment vaccine," said Deray.

The city of Makati was able to give free anti-rabies vaccine to 300 dogs and cats today, but since January they have already vaccinated 8500 dogs.

"We go to the barangays to give a talk about rabies and give free vaccination," said Dr. Vivien Manalastas, Makati City veterenarian.