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Health officials in Iloilo province in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines reported a three fold increase in human rabies deaths in 2021 compared to 2020, according to Panay News.

Image/CIA (cropped)

Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief said 12 deaths due to rabies were recorded in 2021, while four were reported in 2020.

The 12 rabies deaths were from the towns of Sara (four), San Dionisio (three), Estancia (two), Ajuy (one), and Calinog (one), and the component city of Passi (one).

Quiñon said nine of the 12 fatalities did not seek help from government-designated animal bite centers but instead consulted traditional healers called manugtandok.

Rabies: What should you do if you’re exposed?

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The only preventive measure for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Rabies prophylaxis started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.

To learn more about rabies, check out the World Rabies Day Livestream: