Two people have died from rabies in the town of Cauayan, Negros Occidental province prompting the declaration of an outbreak, according to a Philippines media account.


The victims, men in their 60s from different villages, die in the past week from rabies post-dog bites.

To make matters worse, the family of one of the victims killed the dog, cooked it and served it to at least 10 people. Some of the ten have received rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and the provincial veterinarian has launched a massive anti-rabies vaccination and information dissemination campaign.

LISTEN: Rabies: A comprehensive interview with Pamela Wilson

According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.

Rabies infected animals can appear very aggressive, attacking for no reason. Some may act very tame. They may look like they are foaming at the mouth or drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva. Sometimes the animal may stagger (this can also be seen in distemper). Not long after this point they will die. Most animals can transmit rabies days before showing symptoms.

Initially, like in many diseases, the symptoms of rabies are non-specific; fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. At the site of the bite, there may be some pain and discomfort. Symptomsthen progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is nearly 100% fatal.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 69,000 deaths due to rabies annually.