PHO-Aklan to strengthen awareness campaign on rabies

PHOTO CAPTION: In line with World Rabies Day on September 28, PHO-Aklan is reinforcing its campaigns on rabies awareness and education to help prevent the vaccine-preventable disease from claiming lives./iNEWS

KALIBO, Aklan–The Provincial Health Office (PHO)-Aklan is set to strengthen its rabies awareness and education to dispel misconceptions or myths about the disease.

September 28 is World Rabies Day, a global day of awareness and advocacy about rabies prevention with the theme “Rabies: Facts not Fear”.

Rabies is spread from animals to humans where there is exposure to the saliva or other body fluids of a rabid animal to open wounds, the eyes, nose, or mouth. Rabies is also considered a Neglected Tropical Disease infecting mostly poor and vulnerable populations whose deaths are rarely reported.

Animal bites are under Category I or Immediately Notifiable within 24 hours to the Department of Health.

Provincial Health Officer I Dr. Cornelio Cuachon, Jr., is encouraging the public to spread rabies facts and fight fake news and fear about the vaccine-preventable disease.

Animal owners are also urged to get their dogs or cats vaccinated and to contact health care providers when there is possible exposure to rabies.

Animal bite treatment centers in RHUs Banga, Nabas, and New Washington, and PHO-Aklan offer free human anti-rabies vaccines. There are also private animal bite centers in operation at the Aklan provincial hospital, Malay RHU, and Altavas and Ibajay government hospitals.

In the year 2020, Aklan reported 7,103 animal rabies cases. Of this number, 64.3 percent of animal bites were from dogs while nearly 35 percent were from cats.

Children below 15 years old comprised 46 percent (3,259) of the victims while 3,844 of children aged above 15 years old were exposed to animal bites.

Animal bites are a significant cause of mortality in the province; Aklan recorded two rabies-related deaths last year.

Aklan also confirmed an alarming number of animal bites from January to June this year as 4,135 cases were recorded. Cat bites account for 1,211 or 30 percent of animal bites.

Rabies infection is also responsible for three human deaths from January 1 to June 30. The latest death occurred on September 15. (Boy Ryan Zabal/iNEWS-Aklan/Boracay Bureau)

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