The Provincial Veterinary Office has recorded a 39 percent increase in rabies positive cases in dogs with 13 in eight localities in Negros Occidental from January to May this year, compared to six cases in the same period last year.
The increase in cases was attributed to the COVID-19 restrictions where only 46.95 percent, or 126,484 dogs, were vaccinated of the total 273,000 dog population.
To attain herd immunity, at least 70 percent, or 191,100 heads, of the dog population must be vaccinated.
As of May, the top three local government units with the highest number of rabies-positive dogs were Himamaylan City, Victorias City, and Cauayan town.
This prompted the PVO through its Provincial Veterinary District Field Units to conduct immediate massive vaccination.
Other LGUs with rabies positive cases this year are Toboso, EB Magalona, Silay City, Pontevedra, and Sagay City.
There have been 74,781 dogs vaccinated against rabies in the province, serving 47,506 dog owners.
At least 468 stray dogs were impounded by the LGUs, with 437 terminated and 31 redeemed and adopted.
The PVO is encouraging the public to have their dogs vaccinated against rabies annually and not to allow them to go out on the streets to prevent contamination and spread of rabies. Dog population control through spaying and neutering is also being encouraged.
The province is targeting to buy additional rabies vaccines to increase vaccination targets and to reduce active cases, the PVO report said.*