Rabies mainly transmitted via animal bites, scratches: DOH

By Leilani Junio

April 5, 2018, 8:41 pm

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday reiterated that rabies virus is mainly transmitted to humans through direct animal bites and scratches.

"Remember that transmission of rabies (from animals to human) is predominantly through animal bites and scratches, and usually via the saliva," DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in an interview.

Duque made the clarification after recent report claimed that there were 12 persons who were infected with the rabies virus after eating a rabid dog. He noted that the report from DOH Region 9 was "unverified."

According to the report, a 71-year-old man died due to rabies after his hand was bitten by his dog in November last year. The victim only sought medical treatment in January this year.

The dog, who turned out to have rabies, was later reportedly killed and eaten by 12 persons.

"So yung sinasabi daw na nilutong aso at tapos pinakain di na nila ma-confirm iyan (So as to what has been reported that the dog's meat was then cooked and was eaten by 12 people was not confirmed because they (DOH Region 9 Office) are not aware of that," Duque said.

Nonetheless, Duque said, the elderly man's family and relatives were given post-exposure prophylaxis or Verorab as a precaution to protect them in case that, in any way, they had been exposed to the saliva of the man who died from rabies.

Duque said the incubation period of rabies varies and usually takes place from one month to three months while others can be as quick as one week or as long as one year.

He said transmission of the rabies virus to human can happen only if the dog's meat was not properly cooked or was ingested raw. (PNA)