By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
THE Office of City Veterinarian (OCV) declared a rabies outbreak in Iloilo city due to the rapid spike in cases in a span of few months.
Eleven positive animal rabies cases were recorded in Iloilo City in 2018 compared to zero in the past four years, said city veterinarian Dr. Tomas Forteza.
Aside from the spike in rabies cases, the shortage in anti-rabies vaccines also prompted the outbreak declaration.
The clustering of rabies cases in neighboring towns also contributed to the rise in rabies cases in the city.
Forteza said that they have difficulties in border vaccination since the city has no natural boarders, rabid dogs from other towns can easily cross the boundaries and spread infection.
Councilor Candice Magdalane Tupas also cited the increase in the number of stray dogs in the city.
In her committee report delivered on Tuesday, she said that the CVO is coordinating with the city’s neighboring local government units (LGUs) such as Lambunao, Calinog, and Pavia to increase awareness and address the rising cases of rabies in the region.
Meanwhile, Forteza said that he already proposed to Mayor Jose Espinosa III to reconstitute the Iloilo City Rabies Control Council which can recommend ways to stem rabies.
Dr. Bernard Caspe head of the City Health Office (CHO) supported Forteza’s move saying that the council should be reconstituted as soon as possible to prevent the clustering of cases.
According to the Department of Science and Technology, Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), rabies is a fatal viral disease that can be transmitted to humans by infected animals.
The rabies virus, which primarily affect the central nervous system is present in the saliva of an infected animal, is passed to a human through a bite, or rarely, when the animal’s saliva gets in contact with a scratch or fresh break in the skin
Aside from the fact that there is no cure for rabies, once the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease have appeared in humans (two to eight weeks) from the time of the animal bite, death can occur within seven to ten days.