By: Bennie A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, March 3 (PIA) – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) and the Global Alliance on Rabies Control (GARC) intensify its Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Campaign by sharing to the public relevant information to help prevent rabies and make Sorsogon a rabies-free province.
Installation of tarpaulins, posters, and billboards in strategic places across the province is on going to strengthen the public’s awareness on the ill-effects of rabies, how to manage bite incidence, and how to be a responsible pet owner.
IEC materials distributed by PVO and GARC to communities say that rabies is a highly fatal viral disease killing 300-600 Filipinos per year mostly affecting children between 5-14 years old.
Rabies can spread from animals to human and the disease is transmitted when the virus, which is present in the saliva of an infected animal, penetrates the skin through a bite, but can also be acquired if a scratch, wound and/or body openings such as mucous membrane of the eyes, nose or mouth are exposed to contaminated saliva.
“Rabies is also incurable,” as stated in the flyer. The first sign of rabies in animals is a change in behavior. Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, want to be left alone, and begins to show signs of paralysis. Once the animal show signs of paralysis, the disease progresses very quickly and the animal dies.
In case of bite incidence, PVO and GARC gave separate tips for the bitten human and biting dog.
For those bitten by dog or other animal, they have to wash the wound with soap or detergent under running water, disinfect wound with alcohol or tincture of iodine and consult immediately a doctor or seek the nearest bite center in their respective locality.
The biting dog must be confined in a cage and observe for 14 days and do not kill the dog. If the dog dies within 14 days, seek the assistance of a veterinarian for proper submission of specimen for diagnosis and for other information on animal rabies.
Meanwhile, any person can help prevent rabies by becoming a responsible pet owner. This can be done by having pet dogs and cat vaccinated against rabies at three months of age and every year thereafter. Pets must also be provided with proper nutrition, enough care and attention as well as clean and comfortable cage. Be sure to keep pets on leash and do not let them roam freely in the streets.
Republic Act 9482 or The Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 states that, pet owners who refuse to have their dog registered and immunized against rabies shall be punished by a fine of Php2,000.00 and liable to pay for the vaccination of both dog and individual bitten by their dog; Php10,000.00 for those who refuse to have their dog put under observation after it has bitten an individual; Php25,000.00 for those who refuse to have their dog put under observation and do not shoulder the medical expenses of the person bitten by their dog; and Php500.00 per incident for pet owners who refuse to put a leash on their dog while they are brought outside the house. (BARecebido, PIA Sorsogon)