Rabies deaths moves E. Samar to declare state of calamity

Increase in rabies deaths moves E. Samar to declare state of calamity

05:02 AM May 18, 2024

TACLOBAN CITY—The provincial government of Eastern Samar has placed the province under a state of calamity in a bid to contain the number of deaths caused by rabies, a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected animals, usually dogs and mainly through bites.

Gov. Ben Evardone said the declaration approved by the provincial board was prompted by the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office on May 6.

From January to May, the province had already recorded three deaths due to rabies, which was the total fatality count for the entire 2023.


The three fatalities this year were from the towns of Guiuan, General MacArthur and Taft.


“[With the declaration], we will be able to conduct a massive information campaign down to the barangay levels, and we will enforce strict implementation of local ordinances on stray dogs,” Evardone told the Inquirer this week.

He also reminded dog owners of their responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act No. 8485) and urged them to have their pets vaccinated against rabies.

Unrecorded cases

According to Evardone, while the province recorded only three deaths due to rabies, they received information of more cases of people being attacked by rabid dogs across the province, bolstering their move to declare a state of calamity.

Records from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that there are now six deaths due to rabies in the Eastern Visayas region.

Aside from the three deaths in Eastern Samar, the province of Southern Leyte also logged two deaths due to rabies while Leyte has one.

The DOH appealed to dog owners to be responsible and to have their pets vaccinated.


According to Dr. Melai Costuna, assistant provincial veterinary officer, there are around 22,000 dogs in Eastern Samar of which only 40 percent are vaccinated.

She said the Department of Agriculture had stopped distributing animal vaccines, prompting their office to rely on local governments to help them on procurement and distribution.

With the declaration of a state of calamity, the DOH is hoping that the increasing number of rabies cases will be controlled.

“One case of human rabies is already considered alarming. How much more if we have now three cases in this quarter alone?” Costuna said.

The World Health Organization said the incubation period for rabies lasts from two to three months.

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Among the symptoms of rabies include fever, pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking or burning sensation in the wound. —JOEY A. GABIETA

TAGS: Eastern Samar, rabies

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