Iloilo Records a Three-Fold Increase in Rabies Cases in 2021
Cases of death due to rabies rose four-fold in the province of Iloilo last year, according to a report in Panay News.
The Iloilo Provincial Health Office PHO said it recorded 12 deaths in the province due to rabies in 2021, compared to just four in 2020. The 12 deaths were recorded from the towns of Sara (four cases), San Dionisio (three), Estancia (two), Ajuy (one), Calinog (one), and the component city of Passi (one).
According to Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, PHO chief, nine of the 12 fatalities did not seek help from animal bite centers, choosing instead to go to traditional healers called manugtandok in Iloilo.
Rabies is viral disease preventable by a vaccine, but nearly 60,000 people worldwide still die from the disease annually, including about 200 Filipinos, according to the Department of Health.
The World Health Organization says about 99 percent of all rabies transmissions are from dogs.
“We have made great strides in eliminating rabies particularly in the Visayas region where a number of provinces were declared rabies-free,” said Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque in a speech to mark Rabies Prevention Month in the country last March. “Let us continue this positive trend and work together towards completely eradicating this deadly disease. It is my hope to declare Philippines a rabies-free country by 2030.”
When a person experiences a bite from an animal suspected to carry rabies, he or she must immediately wash the area with soap and water and must immediately go to a bite center to get it treated.