Conducted by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVET), in partnership with the Ifugao Provincial Health Office (IPHO), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the municipal government, the activity aimed to update the participants about the rabies prevention and control program of the province, and harmonize interagency strategies and activities towards the elimination of human rabies for a Rabies- Free Philippines by 2022.
It was reported that rabies virus continue to be a public health problem of Ifugao and based from the laboratory results of the PVET, there were 20 rabies cases in 2018 and four cases in the first quarter of 2019.
The IPHO also recorded 14,701 animal bites in Ifugao from 2011 to 2018 based on data of victims who sought treatment at district hospitals in Tinoc, Alfonso Lista and at the Ifugao General Hospital in Lagawe and Lamut.
In line with the vision to declare the country and the province rabies-free by 2022, it is important to get the support of the BHWs, BNS and all concerned agencies at various levels which can be made possible with their close coordination.
During the seminar, Provincial Veterinarian James Gopeng talked about the rabies situation in the province while his staff discussed animal rabies and the challenges and responsibilities of the provincial government in rabies prevention and control.
IPHO personnel lectured on human rabies. Rabies is a highly contagious, fatal and incurable viral disease that can spread from animals to humans mostly through dog bites infected with the virus but can also be acquired if a scratch, wound or body openings such as the mucous membrane of the eyes, nose or mouth are exposed to contaminated saliva.
In managing bite incidence, one should wash the wound with soap or detergent under running water, disinfect the wound with alcohol or tincture of iodine and immediately consult a doctor or seek the nearest bite center.
For the biting dog, it should be confined in a cage and observe it for 14 days. If the dog dies within 14 days, seek the assistance of a veterinarian for proper submission of specimen for diagnosis.
DILG staff explained the responsibilities of local government units under the Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. They also discussed the penalties under the Anti-Rabies law of pet owners who fail or refuse to have their dog registered or immunized against rabies, to have their dog put under observation after the dog has bitten an individual, and to put a leash on their dogs while they are brought outside the house, among others. (JDP/DBC- PIA CAR, Ifugao)