Five persons have died from rabies in Negros Occidental this year, which is alarming, Dr. Ernell Tumimbang, Provincial Health Officer, said Friday, May 27.
He said 6,376 persons in Negros Occidental were also victims of animal bites from January to March this year.
Those bitten who completed their post-exposure prophylaxis were 4,744, those who had incomplete treatment were 897, while those who had none were 659, Tumimbang said.
Those bitten by dogs were 5,381, cats 958 and other animals 37, he said.
The five who died probably did not seek treatment, he said.
Tumimbang said the rabies cases are probably because at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic there was a slowdown in the anti-rabies vaccination of animals.
It is also possible that those bitten did not seek medical help because of the lockdowns during the pandemic, he said.
The recommendation now is to step up dog immunization to prevent deaths from rabies, he added.
Rabies among home pets is low, the highest involves stray dogs, Tumimbang said.
He also said the threat of rabies from stray cats is also high because they are not vaccinated.
Immediate management involves washing the wound with soap and drying it, and not squeezing blood out because its will further ease the entry of rabies into one’s body, he said.
Those who suffer from any canine bites should go to health units for anti-rabies and tetanus shots, he said.
Antibiotics will also be needed to prevent bacterial infection, he added.*