“It's been proven that one of the most effective measure to control the spread of rabies is to control the population of dogs,” she said in a media forum in Koronadal City.
Lamorena said they are still consolidating records of the province's dog population but she cited that they monitored a rapid increase in number, especially of the stray dogs, during the last several years.
She admitted that despite the noted decline in cases of rabies infection in the province during the last three years, the risks of outbreaks have remained, especially in urban communities.
In 2004, the city government of Koronadal declared a rabies outbreak following the confirmed deaths of at least seven persons due to the virus and the infection of 26 others.
Since January, she said they already monitored at least two confirmed cases of rabies infection in Koronadal City and in nearby Polomolok town that were reportedly caused by bites from rabid dogs.
She said the Polomolok health office reported that a local resident died last February 14 due to complications caused by rabies infection.
Lamorena said the massive dog castration, which was launched Tuesday by the local government in line with the observance of the Rabies Awareness Month, will be piloted in Barangay Libertad in Surallah town.
“We will eventually replicate this in other municipalities to make it a large-scale campaign,” she said.
Aside from the free dog castration, Lamorena said they will also continue their year-round vaccination against rabies throughout the province.
She said such activities were mandated to local governments by Republic Act (RA) 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, which specifically provides for the control and elimination of human and animal rabies in the country. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)