MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – The Ilocos Region has recorded 21 rabies cases from Jan. 1 to Sept. 16 this year, 110 percent higher than the 10 cases recorded in the same period last year, according to the Department of Health Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region (DOH-CHD-1).
In a phone interview on Friday, DOH-CHD-1 medical officer Rheuel Bobis said of the total cases, 10 were recorded in Ilocos Norte, two in Ilocos Sur, three in La Union, and six in Pangasinan.
All the recorded cases resulted in deaths.
“Owners have the responsibility to have their pets immunized against rabies yearly and also to provide other booster shots to keep them healthy and safe from viruses. May it be a cat or dog, they should be immunized to prevent rabies in case we get bitten by them. Most animal bites happen at home and some are bitten accidentally during playtime with their pets,” Bobis said.
Rabies is deadly as it has a 99 percent case fatality rate once a person gets bitten in critical areas such as the face, arms, or legs. However, it is preventable through prompt and appropriate medical care and by getting anti-rabies vaccines.
Among the measures being taken by the agency is the distribution of equine rabies immune globulin vials and purified chick embryo cells (for high-risk patients and postexposure protection against rabies) to various provincial health offices.
In an interview, Pangasinan Provincial Veterinary Office officer-in-charge Arcely Robeniol said they have already vaccinated for free 129,628 pets against rabies in the province from Jan. 1 to Sept. 28.
The provincial government has also castrated 1,499 pets and spayed 847 for free as part of their advocacy to control the population of stray cats and dogs.
“If they are neutered or spayed, we could prevent stray animals in the streets and prevent possible rabies bites,” she said.
Robeniol said their other activities include deworming, consultation, vitamin administration and information and education campaign.
“We do info drive campaign to pet owners and conduct mass vaccination as well as augment the local government units with vaccines,” she said. (PNA)