More than 66,400 pet owners in 28 barangays in Taguig have benefited from the city government’s Anti-Rabies Campaign since its launch in March, Mayor Laarni Cayetano announced on Tuesday.
“We are happy that the recent report shows that we have exceeded our goal and have vaccinated 80 percent of the total pet population in such a short period of time,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said aside from the free vaccination shots under Taguig City Anti-Rabies Drive, the city government is also offering free spaying and neutering for dogs and cats as a population control measure.
City chief veterinarian Alexis Siblag said more than 80 percent of the total dogs and cats in the city has been subjected under the TCARD program via house-to-house visits to vaccinate pets.
Under the program, the local government has so far provided free anti-rabies vaccination shots to 15,712 cats and 50,373 dogs, or a total number of 66,499 animals in all of the city’s 28 barangays.
According to Siblag, 70 percent of the total population must be given the vaccine shots in order to control rabies.
Siblag said a human could also be afflicted with rabies through the bite of an infected mammal. Ninety eight percent of human transmissions, however, are caused by dogs.
The Taguig City Health Office currently has five Animal Bite Treatment Centers in Barangay Ibayo-Tipas, Barangay Old Lower Bicutan, Barangay Pinagsama, Barangay Upper Bicutan, and Barangay. North Signal which are open to provide Taguigeños bitten by rabies-exposed animals with free treatment and vaccination.
The Department of Health has recorded 226 deaths in 2015 due to rabies, a fatal disease transmitted to humans through animal bites most commonly by dogs.
Rabies exposure is classified into three categories:
The first category involves touching, feeding, licking of healthy skin with no mucous membrane contact, casual contact with rabid patient;
The second category involves superficial scratch/abrasion on the person without bleeding, nibbling/nipping of uncovered skin with bruising; and
The last category involves a single or multiple transdermal bites/scratches, licking of mucous membrane, all head and neck exposures, exposure to rabid patient, handling of infected remains of an animal, and licks of broken skin.
All pets are subject to different levels of treatment provided free in the five existing animal bite centers.
Rabies infections, according to DoH, increased as 783,663 incidents were reported in 2015, up by 10 percent from 683,802 cases in 2014.
Of these cases, Metro Manila was found with the most number of rabies exposures with 131,508 cases; followed by Southern Luzon (102,512); Central Visayas (78,598); Central Luzon (71,239); and Western Visayas (65,087).
Rabies can also be transmitted to humans even through scratches and once the infection begins, the death of an individual is inevitable.
March has been declared Rabies Awareness Month, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9482 signed on May 25, 2007, to build public awareness on the prevention and control of rabies through education and vaccination.