By Jaimie Rose R. Aberia
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered an intensified animal vaccination drive throughout the city to protect residents and visitors from rabies infection.
The Veterinary Inspection Board (VIB) will go around the city’s 896 barangays to conduct free rabies vaccination of dogs and cats and at the same time, impound stray animals.
“Rabies is a viral disease that should never be neglected and according to DOH (Department of Health), the number of rabies infection usually rises during summer months,” Estrada said.
Citing data from the Department of Health, Estrada said rabies is still considered a significant public health problem with over 1,100 Filipinos seeking emergency treatment for animal bites each day in 2015.
It also accounts for at least 200 deaths in the country every year.
DOH records also show that a total of 432,458 animal bite cases were reported in 2015 with 226 fatalities.
It was Estrada himself who signed Executive No. 84 declaring March as the “Rabies Prevention Month” when he was president in March 1999. The ultimate goal is to have a rabies-free Philippines by year 2020.
The ultimate goal is to have a rabies-free Philippines by year 2020.
Dr. Benjamin Yson, chief of the Manila Health Department (MHD), said rabies infections usually increases during the summer months when children are on school vacation.
“The more cost effective way of addressing the problem of rabies is to look at the source of rabies – dogs, cats, and other animals but more commonly, 90 percent are from dogs and cats,kaya nagbabakuna tayo ng mga aso at pusa, at ito ay libre,” Yson pointed out.
An anti-rabies shot costs around P500 to P1,000 in private veterinary clinics.