30 monitored for rabies infection in Lake Sebu

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Health personnel in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato are closely monitoring at least 30 persons who might have had contact with a rabies patient who died two days ago at the provincial hospital in Koronadal City.

Dr. Jocelyn Bayquin, Lake Sebu municipal health officer, said Thursday they recommended the immediate assessment of the concerned persons at the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office’s Animal Bite Center for possible infection with the deadly rabies virus.

She said these include family members and hospital personnel who had close contact with rabies victim, six-year-old John Paul Bongon of Barangay Takonel in Lake Sebu.

The boy died due to rabies infection late Tuesday night, more than a month after being bitten by a dog.

Citing accounts from the victim’s family, Bayquin said he was reportedly bitten by a puppy sometime in December.

But she said the boy’s stepmother did not mind the incident and did not inform his father even as the puppy died a day later.

On Feb. 2, she said the boy’s father brought him to the Lake Sebu community hospital for checkup due to high fever.

Five days later, on Feb. 7, Bayquin said the boy was brought again to the hospital due to fever and he was then already restless and “spitting.”

They were advised by hospital personnel to undergo laboratory tests at the Lake Sebu Municipal Health Office but did not comply.

The family brought back the boy to the hospital in the evening as he was already having a convulsion and started vomiting.

The victim was referred for admission at the Landero Hospital in Surallah town but was later transferred to the South Cotabato provincial hospital, where he later expired.

“The boy did not undergo prior treatment as it appears that his contact with the rabid dog was concealed by his stepmother,” Bayquin said in an interview Radio Mindanao Network’s station dxKR.

The family believed that the victim was bitten by the dog on his arm, but she said they found a scar just below one of his eyes.

Bayquin said all those who had contract with the boy should be evaluated to ensure proper management in case they were infected by the virus.

“These are persons who were with the boy and handled him since he first manifested the symptoms. The assessment will determine if they will need to undergo passive or active immunization,” she said.

She advised officials of Barangay Takonel in Lake Sebu to request for the conduct of immediate vaccination for all dogs in their area. (MindaNews)