With 32 positive animal rabies samples in 2014 in the capital city of the province of Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro City (CDO) saw the most animal cases of the lethal disease on the Philippine archipelago.
The numbers were revealed at the 2014 Rabies Situation presented by the Bureau of Animal Industry during the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), Communicating Health Advocacy Mentorship Program (CHAMP) in Tagaytay.
CDO has seen little change in animal rabies since 2009, reporting 34, 39, 32, 33, 33 and 32 cases to 2014.
Dr. Perla T Asis, CDO city veterinarian said budgetary constraints have kept them from vaccinating more dogs. In 2013, they have only vaccinated 55% of total dog population, below their target of 80% with just P700, 000 budget for animal rabies vaccines.
Rabies is an acute infection of the central nervous system caused by the rabies virus. It affects mammals like dogs, cats, foxes, bats and humans. When humans are bitten, scratched or licked over their broken skin by an infected animal, the virus in the saliva of the infected animal enters the human body through the wound and travels through nerves to the brain, leading to encephalitis.
The incubation period of rabies may last for a few days to several years, but it is usually three to eight weeks. The initial symptoms may be nonspecific flu-like symptoms such as malaise, fever, or headache, which may last for days. There may be numbness and tingling around the site of the wound. These are followed after a few days by anxiety, confusion, spasm of swallowing muscles, paralysis, coma and death.
Members of the public should avoid stray animals. In case being bitten by an animal, wash the wound with water and soap and seek medical attention.