MAASIN CITY- The reason why the government should aim for a rabies-free local government unit is because rabies is 99.99 percent fatal, said regional rabies nurse coordinator Caryl Lapriza of the Department of Health (DOH) – Region 8 during the recently held Rabies Consultative Meeting in this city.
“Though it is 99.99 percent fatal, it is 100 percent preventable,” Lapriza said as she discussed the criteria for a municipality to be declared as rabies-free.
Lapriza said, “To be declared as a rabies-free municipality, the following criteria should be met: presence of Local ordinance on the prevention and control of rabies; presence of localized comprehensive rabies elimination program; existing comprehensive rabies vaccination program in place for two years; adequate lab-based surveillance system must be in place; and, enforcement of control measures to eliminate, destroy and dispose stray dogs.”
She added that other requirements include the information, education and communication campaign on responsible pet ownership; presence of effective rabies control committee; effective dog movement control measures; celebration of Rabies Awareness Month every March of every year, among others.
In an another presentation during the meeting, Dr. Francisco Cabarrubias, provincial veterinarian, said that out of the 18 municipalities and one city in the province of Southern Leyte, eight municipalities have already accomplished at least 70 percent of dog population vaccinated with anti-rabies.
The national target vaccination is set at 70 percent of the total dog population.
These municipalities are: Macrohon, Padre Burgos, Limasawa, Bontoc, Hinunangan, Liloan, Pintuyan and Maasin City.
The province had already accomplished 71 percent of dogs vaccinated of the total dog population now reaching 37,000.
Cabarrubias said, “Best efforts should come from the local government units in order to attain a rabies-free province by 2020 (Philippine target) or by 2030 based on the World Health Organization’s target.
The health department described rabies as a human infection that occurs after a transdermal bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats and can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions.
(LDL/RGCadavos/PIA-8 Southern Leyte)