Camiguin maintains rabies-free status

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MAMBAJAO, Camiguin, Aug 30 (PIA) — The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Department of Health (DOH) will re-declare Camiguin as a “rabies-free zone” next month.

Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo announced this during the recent Regional Development Council meeting held in the island, this month. 

Dr. Louis S. Bollozos, provincial veterinarian, explained the need to re-declare the island after recording two cases in 2005 and one case in 2007 following its proclamation as rabies-free province in 2003. 

He said these cases, as recorded by the hospitals, have not really originated from the island itself. 

“The actual animal-biting incidents occurred somewhere outside the province,” Bollozos said. 

Camiguin is the first province to achieve the rabies-free status, and has sustained to do so by strategizing and initiating effective ways to best implement rabies eradication and control program. 

The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has recorded a total of 248 animal bites over last year and some 64 bites as of first quarter this year (latest available data), with no reported rabid traces. 

Most of these patients were given post-exposure treatment which is free for the initial two doses. 

The Provincial Health Office (PHO) report shows that only 31 percent of the patients will return for the third dose due to financial constraints. 

However, it is a good indicator that the dogs in the island are rabies free as there was no recorded threat to the lives of those patients who failed to submit for the third treatment dose. 

To date, the PVO is regularly administering house-to-house rabies vaccination, as well as, information and education campaign on rabies and responsible pet ownership. 

It also initiates dog-catching activities to eliminate stray dogs and had recently opened to extending free neutering/spaying services to interested pet owners who voluntarily submit their pets for surgery. 

According to the PVO, the local government here was able to pass the provincial rabies control ordinance in 2009, just two years after Anti-Rabies Act was passed. 

Bollozos likewise vigorously campaigned for the enactment of the same ordinance down to municipal level and have now even put in place the organization of “Barangay Bantay Rabis (Barangay Rabies Watch).” 

Although rabies is not among the list of leading causing of disease and death, it is however considered with the same importance, being the most acutely fatal infection. (PIA 10) 

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