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Cagayan bite centers intensify campaign vs rabies

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Cagayan provincial government through officials of animal bite centers here will intensify their awareness campaign on rabies prevention and treatment, in celebration of Rabies Awareness Month this March.

Provincial Health Office’s Animal Bite Treatment Center Rabies Control Program Coordinator Shamon De Yro said in Pagdidinnamagan: Kapehan sa Kapitolyo on Monday, March 12, they are set to visit schools next week.

Shamon said they will be teaching health education to pupils and students about the rabies virus, its prevention and treatment, and will be clearing out misconceptions on rabies.

He also assured that patients of animal bite centers are properly educated on rabies.

In “Kapehan sa Kapitolyo,” De Yro also clarified that not all dogs have or are inborn of rabies, and that the virus is transmitted only through saliva of rabies-infected dogs.

He said humans can only get the virus if they are bitten by animals infected with rabies. All domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, cows, carabaos, pigs, monkeys, and bats can carry and be infected of rabies.

Not a treatment

However, De Yro stressed that taking anti-rabies vaccine is not a treatment but is instead a precaution or prevention measure.

The nurse advised the public to first observe the animal’s behavior before taking anti-rabies vaccines from bite centers.

“Hindi emergency cases ang pagbabakuna basta marunong tayong mag-observe. Saka lang tayo magbibigay ng anti-rabies kapag ang kumagat sa atin is positive na may rabies,” he added.

Dog bite victims are advised to monitor the dog. If the animal dies within 14 days, the victim must take anti-rabies shots, De Yro said. A booster shot is given after three shots to wake up previously-induced vaccination doses.

De Yro encouraged victims, when bitten by a dog or potential rabies-infected animals, to wash their bite wounds with soap and running water for 15 minutes, because this removes 40% of transmitted rabies from the affected area.

He also warned people not to self-medicate, stressing that Cagayan’s animal bite centers provide free shots of anti-rabies vaccines.

The official also discouraged the traditional treatment of “tundok,” adding that this can even worsen the infection of the wound, aside from being ineffective.

Meanwhile, De Yro shared the dangers of rabies and failure to take treatment. He said the tree symptoms that the virus has reached critical stage are hydrophobia or fear of water, aerophobia or fear of wind, and photophobia or fear of light.

He said if a victim already has these symptoms, they can no longer get further treatment. “Wala nang treatment diyan. So ibig sabihin mamamatay at mamamatay ang pasyente kapag nagpakita na ang tatlong sintomas na ito,” he warned.

“Kahit sandamakmak o isang drum ng anti rabies ang ipainum natin sa kanya, wala nang gagaling,” De Yro added.

Further, he warned the public not to take vaccines every time they get bitten because there is a tendency for a body to sustain “immunofatigue” wherein the body no longer reacts to vaccine.

In case victims are unable to observe the dog for 14 days, such as in the case of dog’s death due to accident, poisoning, butchering, or in the case that a victim is bitten by a stray dog, they are advised to start vaccination “right away.”

After clearing out misconceptions and discussing rabies in Kapehan, De Yro assured the public they will continue their intensified awareness campaign in the coming months.

“Kahit gaano tayo kabusy, kahit gaano tayo kahirap, kung wala tayong pamasahe, kahit gaano kalayo [ang bite center, kung marunong tayong mag-observe, walang mamamatay, lahat magiging aware [at] lahat magiging knowledgeable sa rabies na yan,” he said. Northernforum.net

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