March is 'Rabies Awareness Month,' agency’s rabies unit drums up support from local governments - MINDANAO SUN

March is ‘Rabies Awareness Month,’ agency’s rabies unit drums up support from local governments

Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay – The anti-rabies unit of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office 9 (DA-9) has heightened the anti-rabies campaign as it drummed up the call for the improved support of some local government units in the province.

Rabies is fatal but it is preventable, Dr. Marie France Jalao, DA-9 regional focal person for rabies, told media in a press conference held here Tuesday.

She stressed the need to educate the public on rabies, a viral disease caused by a Lyssavirus which is transmitted to human beings through the saliva due to a bite or scratch by rabid animals such as dogs, cats, or monkeys.

In 2018, Jalao said, “we had achieved 44 to 55 percent vaccination accomplishment in the region” or 113,561 out of the 272,178 dog population.

During the same period, there were 39 confirmed cases of rabies out of 57 samples throughout the region. Of the 39 cases, Zamboanga City had 24; Zamboanga del Sur, 9; Zamboanga Sibugay, 3; and Zamboanga del Norte, 2.

In terms of bite cases, a total of 42,575 cases in the region were recorded. The province had 9,685 bite cases.

The age group of 15 years old and below was the most affected comprising about 48 percent of the total bite cases.

This year’s campaign, she said, is aimed at improving the vaccination performance.

The provincial veterinarian, Dr. Elmer Nueva had admitted that more than half of the 16 municipalities of the province had 40 percent and below in terms of vaccination accomplishment.

The top five performers, Nueva said, with 70 to 80 percent accomplishment are the towns of Buug, Naga, Ipil, Kabasalan, and Mabuhay.

The poorest in terms of vaccination accomplishment is the town of Malangas with 10 percent, he added.

When asked what had caused the poor performance, Nueva cited the “lack of manpower” in some municipalities.

He said the “towns of Malangas and Payao have no designated livestock officer or focal person for rabies.”

Nieto Fernandez, the representative of the Department of Health Regional Office 9 (DOH-9), said the health office is into massive information dissemination and other activities to enhance the vaccination performance.

Republic Act 9482, signed into law in 2007, declares March as the rabies awareness month to strengthen the prevention, control, and management of the rabies.

This year’s theme, “Makiisa sa Barangayan Kontra Rabies: Maging Responsableng Pet Owners,” calls on local government units to do their part in the fight against rabies. At least 300 Filipinos died due to rabies every year. (Antonio M. Manaytay-Mindanao Sun)

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