Death from rabies: 9 in first quarter

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 April) — Health personnel in Region 12 have recorded nine suspected deaths due to rabies in the first three months of the year.

Dr. Teogenes Baluma, Department of Health (DOH) Region 12 director, said the number of cases is about 80 per cent higher than last year’s.

The DOH-12’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit only recorded five rabies cases and deaths from January to March last year.

“Cases were above epidemic threshold (during the period),” Baluma noted in a report released by the agency.

Region 12, which is also known as Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Baluma said North Cotabato posted the highest number of rabies cases with four followed by Sultan Kudarat, three and South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces with one each.

Cotabato City and this city have not recorded a single case of rabies during the period.

In the first quarter of 2013, North Cotabato also recorded four rabies cases and deaths while Sultan Kudarat had one.

Baluma said the rabies cases involved residents aged 22 to 71 years old and eight of the nine fatalities were males.

All nine victims were bitten by rabid dogs, four of which were domesticated or pets, he said.

“No laboratory confirmation of all cases was done,” Baluma said.

He added that five of the victims had their wounds cleaned after being bitten by the rabid dog.

Seven of the cases belong to category III of exposure and three of the fatalities had incomplete post exposure, he said.

A briefer released by the World Health Organization described the exposure as “single or multiple transdermal bites or scratches, licks on broken skin; and, contamination of mucous membrane with saliva from licks, contacts (with the rabid animal).”  (MindaNews)