17 deaths due to rabies recorded in Region 12 in 2012

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Jan) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region has recorded a total of 17 deaths in the area last year due to suspected rabies infection.

Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, DOH-12’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) chief, said Friday such figure was down by two cases or about 11 percent from the total deaths recorded within the region in 2011.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong Kidapawan and Cotabato.

“One hundred percent of the cases were exposed to dog bites and mostly involved domesticated animals,” Vingno said.

The suspected rabies cases were specifically monitored from January 1 to December 1 last year, she noted in a RESU report.

Five of the cases involved children aged 10 and below while four cases were reported from the 51 to 60 age range, it said.

The report said two cases each were from the 11 to 20, 31 to 40 and 41 to 50 age ranges as well as a case each from those aged 21 to 30 and above 80.

Out of the 17 cases, Vingno said seven had their wounds cleaned while five had received post exposure prophylaxis or anti-rabies vaccination.

But she said all suspected cases did not undergo laboratory confirmation, which is done at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Alabang, Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila.

Of the region’s four provinces and five cities, the RESU report cited that North Cotabato posted the most number of rabies cases and deaths last year with 10, followed by Sarangani with four, Sultan Kudarat with two and this city with one.

The rabies cases in North Cotabato last year increased by two when compared to the 2011 figures while Sarangani posted a drop by one case.

This city has no reported rabies case in 2011 while South Cotabato province managed a clean record last year after posting five cases in 2011.

The rabies cases in the region exceeded the epidemic threshold in the months of May and August, which had four reported cases each.

Three cases were reported last November, two in September and one each in January, March, April and June. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)