Issue of November 4, 2018

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DOH: 5 die due to rabies from Jan to Oct in the Cordilleras
by PIO release

The Department of Health-Cordillera reported that five people died due to rabies in the region from Jan. 1 to Oct. 6.

Geeny Anne Austria of the DOH Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit said they recorded the same number of cases this year and last year.

Based on the DOH report, the cases were from Apayao, which had four cases, and one from outside the Cordillera.

Three males contracted rabies, which represents 60 percent of the total number of the recorded rabies cases while the age range of the victims is from four to 59 years old.

Health authorities said rabies is a zoonotic disease and human infection caused by a virus, usually occurring after a bite or scratch by an infected animal.

Transmission may also occur when infectious material, usually the saliva, comes into direct contact with the victim’s fresh skin lesions.

Experts said rabies may occur through inhalation of virus-containing aerosol or via infected organ transplants, though very rarely.

Austria described rabies as a highly fatal disease characterized by fluctuations in consciousness, phobic or inspiratory spasms and autonomic instability.

It causes the inflation of the brain in humans and other mammals. Rabies is fatal, but health officials say it is 100 percent preventable.

Early symptoms include fever and tingling at the site of exposure and that the symptoms can be followed by violent movements, uncontrolled excitements, fear of water, inability to move parts of the body, confusion, and loss of consciousness.

Symptoms usually occur from one to three months after contracting the disease, but it can vary from less than one week to more than one year. The time depends on the distance the virus travels along peripheral nerves to reach the central nervous system.

Among the recommended prevention and control measures against rabies are the provision of pre-exposure treatment to high risk personnel and post-exposure prophylaxis to animal bite victims; mass vaccination of dogs; impounding, field control, and disposition of unregistered, stray, and unvaccinated dogs; and conduct of information and education campaign on the prevention and control of rabies.

Austria advised individuals bitten by dogs and cats to immediately wash their wounds with soap and flowing water and immediately seek medical attention from the nearest medical facility.

The DOH envisions the Philippines to be rabies-free by 2020.

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