GenSan intensifies campaign vs rabies

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 23 Jan) – Health personnel here have stepped up their awareness campaign on the deadly rabies infection in the wake of the rising cases of animal bites in the area.

Dr. Mely Lastimoso, disease surveillance officer of the City Health Office, said Thursday they have set a series of information and education activities on rabies in a bid to prevent possible infections and eventually eliminate the disease in the area.

Last year, she said their office has recorded a total of 3,344 animal bite cases within the city’s 26 barangays.

Lastimoso said about 88 percent of the cases or a total of 2,956 involved dogs while the rest were caused by cats and other animals.

She said one of the dog bite victims last year from Barangay San Jose died due to confirmed infection of the rabies virus.

The Department of Health (DOH) considers a single case of confirmed rabies infection as an outbreak of the disease.

“The fact that we had a death case last year because of rabies, we consider our situation as quite alarming,” Lastimoso said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

The city has not recorded a single case of rabies infection in 2012 based on records released by DOH-Region 12’s epidemiology and surveillance unit.

The agency recorded 12 deaths due to confirmed rabies infection in 2012 and 15 as of the third quarter of 2013.

Owing to this, the official urged local residents to ensure that their pet animals, specifically the dogs, are properly vaccinated against rabies.

She said they may avail of the free services being offered by the city government through its veterinary office or submit their pet animals to private veterinary clinics that offer them for a minimal fee.

The city government has a standing ordinance that prohibits residents from leaving their pet animals unattended or allow them to roam freely in the streets and other public places.

City Ordinance No. 13, series of 2008, which complements with the provisions of Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, specifically regulates the presence of stray animals in public places within the city and authorizes the establishment and operation of an animal pound.