Free anti-rabies shots to be provided by DOH nationwide in 2016 - Garin | Inquirer News

Free anti-rabies shots to be provided by DOH nationwide in 2016 – Garin

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 08:04 AM January 06, 2016

MANILA, Philippines — There’s no more reason to delay getting an anti-rabies shot if bitten by a dog or cat.

The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that it is providing free vaccines against the deadly infection in all the animal bite treatment centers across the country this year in a bid to stamp out human rabies that caused the deaths of more than 220 people in 2015.

In a press briefing late Monday, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the full course of post-exposure prophylaxis equivalent to eight doses of anti-rabies vaccines would be administered free of charge to those seeking emergency treatment for animal bites.


These free vaccines could easily be availed of in the 480 animal bite treatment centers nationwide, said Garin.


“If you’ve been bitten by either a pet or a stray animal, don’t ignore it. Immediately seek medical attention from the nearest bite center where you will be given the proper treatment,” Garin appealed to the public.

Rabies is a deadly viral disease that is mainly spread by bite but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with the saliva of an infected animal.

The DOH says rabies is considered a neglected disease that is “100 percent” fatal but also highly preventable. The incubation period or the time for the infection to develop for rabies can be as short as a few days but can also last as long as five years.

But roughly 95 percent of people who have been infected by a rabid animal develop the disease within a year. The DOH has also warned that once a patient starts showing symptoms, there is no more treatment and he or she usually succumbs to the infection within 10 days.

In the Philippines, it is still considered a significant public health problem with over 1,100 Filipinos seeking emergency treatment for animal bites each day last year. Rabies also accounts for at least 200 deaths in the country every year.

DOH records show that a total of 432,458 animal bite cases were reported last year with 226 fatalities.


“None of these deaths should have occurred since we have the necessary interventions to prevent rabies such as the promotion of responsible pet ownership, early consultation when bitten by animals and timely administration of vaccines,” said Garin.

While cats and other livestock animals also carry the virus, dogs are the primary source of rabies transmission. But unknown to many, a big bulk of rabies infection is acquired from pet dogs rather than from stray ones.

In 2011, the DOH reported that 88 percent of rabies infection cases were obtained from pet dogs and about two percent from cats.

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As part of the government’s campaign against rabies, a total of 33 provinces have already been declared free of the deadly infection by both the DOH and the Bureau of Animal Industry.  SFM

TAGS: cats, Dogs, Health, illness, medicine, Nation, News, pet dogs, pets, rabies, stray dogs

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