Officials with the Provincial Health Office are reporting the deaths of three children in Negros Occidental in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines. Records show that the victims, ages 9, 10, and 12 years old, came from the cities of Victorias and Sipalay, and the town of Toboso.
The 10-year-old female died on July 3, while a 9-year-old male passed away on July 15. The 12-year-old male on July 21.
According to the World Health Organization, the Philippines is one of the top 10 countries with rabies problem. It is responsible for the deaths of 200 to 300 Filipinos per year. In 2010, 257 died of rabies, and in 2011, 202 deaths were reported.
At least 1/3 of deaths due to human rabies are among children less than 15 years old. Animal bite cases has been increasing for the past 5 years. At least 328,459 persons in 2011, and 266, 220 individuals in 2010 were bitten by animals. Almost half of rabies exposures are among school children.
Dogs remain the principal cause of animal bites and rabies cases. It was estimated that of the nine million dogs across the country, only one million are vaccinated against rabies.
March was Rabies Awareness Month in the Philippines which has the ultimate goal of making the Philippines rabies-free by the year 2020.