Region 1 is No. 5 in rabies cases

*It’s alarming as 6 deaths recorded in recent months at nearby provinces– DOH

*Ilocos Norte spared from the deadly virus last year with zero fatality

Region 1 ranked fifth in the nationwide tally of the most number of human rabies cases in 2018, health authorities reported.

Dr. Jimuel Cardenas, chief of local health support division of DOH-1, said rabies cases in the region are considered alarming citing that from January 1, 2019, to March 27, 2019, six deaths due to human rabies have been recorded– Pangasinan has five cases and La Union, one.

“The number of deaths this quarter is close to half of the total cases reported for the whole year in 2018 at 20 deaths,” said Cardenas.

Of the death cases last year, 13 were from Pangasinan, four from La Union, Ilocos Sur, three, and Ilocos Norte had zero fatality.

“Ages of fatalities in 2018 ranged from nine to 87 years old,” said Cardenas, who appealed to the public to support the government efforts to curb the incidence of rabies in the region.

The DOH division chief said the full implementation of Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 is the key to address the issue on rabies.

“The law already spells out the responsibilities of pet owners, government agencies concerned, local government units, and assistance from non-government organizations and academe,” he stressed.

He added, “all sectors must join together in order to prevent and control rabies not just in the region but in the entire country.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Julien Joan Lud-ayen, chief of the infectious disease unit of DOH-1, said Region 1 must also be on guard against animal bites.

She said in 2018, there were 75,329 cases of animal bites in the region citing Pangasinan as the second scorer nationwide with 50,385 cases.

“Most victims of the animal bites were aged above 15 years old at 59 percent,” Lud-ayen said.

She advised any animal bite victims to immediately wash the affected area with soap and flowing water and go to the nearest Animal Bite Treatment Centers in their area to get four doses of vaccination. (Tandok or Suma by herbolario is discouraged.-Ed.)

Rabies Awareness Month is observed every March by virtue of Executive Order No. 84 signed on March 13, 1999 by then President Joseph Estrada.

Theme of this year’s observance is “Makiisa sa barangayan kontra rabies, maging responsableng pet owner.” (Joanne Namnama P. Dilim/PIA-1)