RESCUED. A green sea turtle was rescued by a fisherman from Barangay Rawis, Tacloban City on Monday (May 13) and was turned over to the Fishery Law Enforcement Team(FLET).The green sea turtle, caught inside the fishing net of the fisherman, was tagged and released in the Cancabato Bay area. (FLET)

Due to rising rabies cases

TACLOBAN CITY – The province of Eastern Samar has declared a state of calamity due to an alarming rise in rabies cases that have already claimed lives.

Governor Ben Evardone disclosed that the decision, made on Monday (May 6) upon the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, aims to prevent further cases of animal bites, particularly from dogs.

The provincial board also passed a resolution supporting this declaration during their session on Friday (May 17).

As of now, the province has recorded three deaths due to rabies this year. Last year, there were also three fatalities.

“With the declaration, we will conduct a massive information campaign down to the barangay levels and enforce strict implementation of local ordinances on stray dogs,” Evardone said on Thursday (May 16).

He also emphasized the responsibilities of dog owners under the Animal Welfare Act and urged them to vaccinate their pets.

The three recent fatalities occurred in the towns of Guiuan, General MacArthur, and Taft.
Gov. Evardone noted that while there have been three deaths due to rabies, reports of additional dog bites are increasing across the province, justifying the state of calamity declaration.

“Many are still receiving vaccines due to dog bites,” he added.

Dr. Melai Costuna, assistant veterinary provincial officer, expressed hope that the declaration would help address the surge in rabies cases.

“One case of human rabies is already considered alarming; having three cases in this quarter alone is much more concerning,” she said.

Dr. Costuna also mentioned that the Department of Agriculture (DA), which supplies animal vaccines, has stopped providing vaccines to their office, leaving them reliant on local government units for their vaccination drive.

Eastern Samar has a dog population of over 22,000, with only 40 percent currently vaccinated.

According to records from the Department of Health, there have been six deaths due to dog bites in the region: three in Eastern Samar, two in Southern Leyte, and one in Leyte.
The DOH is urging dog owners to be responsible by vaccinating their pets and seeking immediate medical assistance if bitten or scratched by an animal suspected of carrying the rabies virus.

The World Health Organization states that the incubation period for rabies ranges from two to three months but can vary from one week to one year.

Symptoms include fever, pain, and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensations at the wound site.