Records of the Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO) showed a total of 23 cases since 2008. There were no recorded cases for three consecutive years from 2009 to 2011 and in 2016.
However, for this year, there are already six rabies cases recorded - four in Sablan, one in Tinongdan, Itogon while another one was confirmed recently in Puguis, La Tinidad, according to Department of Agriculture - CAR Veterinarian II Dr. Cecilia B. Capuyan.
Governor Melchor Diclas impressed on the roles of those concerned to be vigilant in case there are identified rabid dog cases to prevent its spread as he acknowledged the ongoing efforts of the animal and human sectors for the anti-rabies program of the provincial government towards the goal of total rabies eradication.
He also commended the quick response measures of the Sablan local government in containing the earlier reported rabid dog cases through vaccination and other strategies including the medical attention accorded to the human victims and those exposed. Sablan LGU had declared state of emergency in the municipality to address the concern.
Among the efforts being undertaken in line with the rabies control and eradication program include mass vaccination, updating and development of provincial animal baseline data information system, search for the best implementation of local government rabies program, Information Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns, and neutering. Local government units are also urged to pass their own of rabies ordinance.
Anti-rabies vaccination is one of the regular measures being undertaken in the control and eradication of the virus in partnership with the provincial, municipal and barangay local governments, concerned agencies such as the DA-CAR, Dept.of Health -CAR, academe, and private sector.
PVO head, Dr. Miriam Tiongan, said vaccination will now be administered for the whole year to be able to reach the 70 percent target dog population or a total of 79,233. It used to be for a number of months only starting March of every year which is declared as Anti-Rabies Month until all the vaccines were consumed.
Dr. Mark Loyd P. Wadasen of the PVO said to date, the average dogs vaccinated for the whole province was only 35% or equivalent to 55,463 ranging from a low of 12% in Tublay to a high 90% in Sablan.
One of the strategies the committee is pushing for is the passage of legislative measures encouraging the municipal and barangay local units to adopt rabies prevention and control ordinance although there were some LGUs which have already crafted their own.
A provincial animal baseline data information system is being updated and developed through dog registration in coordination with the municipalities and barangays. To facilitate the animal registration, the PVO is currently developing an application accessed through smart phones which will soon be launched.
PVO also initiated neutering which is a scheme to control dog population. Neutering is a process of removing part of the sex organs of an animal so that it cannot reproduce.
IEC Campaigns are also being held including the regular conduct of the celebration of Rabies Awareness Month and World Rabies Day including the conduct of trainings and seminars.
PVO Veterinarian II Peter A. Canggat Jr who made a briefing on rabies said the virus spread through the nerves, to the salivary glands and in the final phase, may be transmitted to other mammals through infectious saliva.
There were some facts on rabies Canggat underscored. Not all dogs,cats or animals have rabies. Rabies potency is not affected by age or size like a puppy versus a full-grown dog. Rabies is not found in the blood. Use of garlic and other forms of treatment such as “tandok,” a traditional way of treating rabies are not effective against rabies. (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro