Health officials in Northern Mindanao (DOH-10) have reported a significant increase in human rabies deaths in 2021.
According to authorities, 18 rabies deaths were reported last year compared to the seven deaths in 2020, an increase of 157 percent. The Province of Bukidnon accounted for most of the fatalities.
DOH-10 senior health program officer for rabies Jenny Alabado said, “There are a lot of factors why the deaths have increased. Maybe because of the pandemic, the vaccination (for rabies) is difficult, and maybe the others choose not to visit the Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC)”.
She also noted that most of the areas in Bukidnon are identified as geographically isolated disadvantaged areas (GIDA), which might be one of the causes the residents are having a hard time availing of the rabies vaccination.
In addition, animal bites in the region also increased–67,186 cases in 2021—up by 1,116 cases.
Rabies is a viral illness that usually spreads through the bite of an infected animal. It may also be possible to transmit the virus if infected saliva enters the eyes, nose or mouth or a break in the skin. Once someone becomes sick with rabies, it is almost always fatal. However, the illness is preventable if rabies vaccine and immune globulin are administered before symptoms start.
Learn more about rabies in this recent livestream:
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