Rabies kills 11 in Bukidnon in 2011

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/26 June) — Eleven persons died of rabies caused by dog bites in Bukidnon in 2011, the highest in Northern Mindanao last year, a health official said.

Dr. Teresita Damasco, Bukidnon provincial health officer told MindaNews Tuesday that most of the victims were from the southern municipalities.

The provincial board has asked Damasco to appear in its regular session Wednesday to shed light on the matter, provincial board member Marivic Montesclaros said.

The provincial health office recorded 5,486 animal or dog bite cases in 2011.

In the last five years, the average number of deaths ranged from 10 to 15 a year while the average number of animal or dog bites was close to 5,000 cases, it added.

Damasco said Northern Mindanao ranked fourth nationwide in terms of deaths caused by rabies.

The Department of Health reported that 67 persons died due to dog bites from January to March this year.

Reports quoted Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag as having said that this number is lower compared to the figure for the same period last year where 98 rabies victims died.

In 2011, the DOH reported about 300,000 cases of animal bites, 90 percent of which were dog bites.

In its website, the DOH considers rabies infection as a “neglected disease,” which is “100-percent fatal though 100-percent preventable.”

It considers rabies infection a “significant public health problem” even if it is not among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the country.

Rabies kills between 200 and 300 Filipinos a year. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)