John Paul Aquino, Rabies Regional Program Coordinator in Region 1, presents the updates on human rabies and animal bites incidents during the rabies and Japanese encephalitis stakeholders forum held at Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), Dagupan City. (Photo by Liwayway Yparraguirre)
DAGUPAN CITY -- Health authorities have asked pet owners in Ilocos Region to vaccinate their animals with anti-rabies to further reduce fatalities, as the region recorded 75,329 animal bites and 20 human rabies victims in 2018.
John Paul Aquino, Rabies Regional Coordinator, made this call even after animal bites cases last year declined by 30 percent from the recorded 108,026 in 2017, placing the region on seventh place in rankings nationwide from fourth place.
Aquino said Pangasinan ranked first nationwide last year.
He said the figure for human rabies, however, ballooned to 20 victims in 2018 compared to 10 victims the previous year.
Region 1 placed seventh in 2017 for human rabies cases, and its rank jumped to number five nationwide last year, he said.
As of March 2019, there are already five human rabies cases in Region 1 and these were all recorded in Pangasinan, he added.
Based on rabies prevention and control program data, there were 18 positive rabies cases in dogs as of March 19, of which Pangasinan had 14, La Union -1, and Ilocos Sur -3.
Dr. Sigrid Agustin, Alternate Regional Rabies coordinator, said “it is very difficult to reach the target vaccination. Before, our target is 70 percent, but now, the central office raised it so that the immunization per community will be better. It is difficult to achieve without political will”.
Agustin also noted the important role of the local government units in achieving the vaccination target.
“They have the ordinance called “Aso Mo, Itali Mo” (Tie up Your Dogs). They just need to be implemented,” he said. (PNA)