Issue of August 4, 2019
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Benguet town declares state of emergency due to rabies cases
by Ofelia C. Empian

The municipality of Sablan, Benguet has declared the town under state of emergency due to the three cases of people bitten by rabid dogs and 43 others exposed to the virus.

Vice Mayor Arthur Baldo said the municipal government has earlier called for a meeting with its agriculture and health personnel, sangguniang bayan members, and the punong barangay of Poblacion, where the incident happened, to come up with strategies and policies to prevent the further spread of the rabies virus. 

Baldo said there is a need for the declaration so the local government could avail of the municipal risk and disaster reduction fund, particularly the quick response fund, to purchase of rabies vaccine and other necessities.

He added that three dogs in Poblacions were captured and found to be positive with rabies virus.

He said the first dog bit three individuals, the second bit two individuals, while one dog was observed to have signs of the rabies virus.

Baldo said the rabies virus may have spread from the victims to those who assisted them and those who transported the dogs for examination.

Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan said 43 individuals were found exposed to the rabies virus. 

“They were given post-exposure prophylaxis (human vaccines) and they are doing good now because it was prevented early on,” Tiongan said. 

Tiongan said that the rabies virus is spread through direct contact, such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal. She said the virus is not airborne.

The town council passed a resolution for the declaration of the state of emergency. 

Rabies vaccines for dogs and cats, protective gadgets and gloves for vaccinators, and dog collars and leash were purchased.

A mass vaccination in Poblacion was also conducted.

Baldo said a total of 1,700 animals were already vaccinated.

The vice mayor also appealed to the public not to create mass hysteria as efforts are being done to contain the virus.

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