Rabies is highly transmissible to humans, thus, pet owners should be responsible.
Rabies is contagious as it can spread from animals to humans. The disease can be transmitted when the virus, which is present in the saliva of an infected animal, penetrates the skin, usually through a bite. The typical pets where rabies cautiousness is seen as essential include dogs, cats, and monkeys.
“Iti rabies gamin iso nga maikkan iti importansya na ket highly zoonotic ngay wenno highly transmittable from animal to human. Mano nga tawen nga adda iti prevention activities, adda iti vaccination iti rabies ket 100% proven fatal ngem 100% met lang nga preventable (We should give importance to rabies because of its characteristics as highly zoonotic and highly transmittable from animal to human; for many years that we have conducted prevention activities, like mass vaccination, rabies is 100% fatal yet 100% preventable),” said Peter Canggat Jr, veterinarian and Benguet Provincial Rabies Coordinator.
With rabies’ vaccination effectiveness, Canggat assured Benguet as rabies free since 70% of the total pet population are vaccinated. To date, Benguet conducts yearly mass rabies vaccination for free within the 13 municipalities in celebration of Rabies Awareness Month in March 2022.
Canggat also mentioned: “Iti ikasta tapnu ma-prevent ket agbakuna iti animals containing rabies. Dakdakkel gamin iti magastos nu iti tao iti bakunaan ta adayo nga nangatngato iti population iti tao kumpara iti pet animals (The only way to prevent people from rabies is to vaccinate rabies causing animals. When compared to rabies immunization among humans, it is more costly since the number of human population is higher than the pet animals).”
According to the “The Merck Veterinary Manual,” rabies is a highly fatal and viral disease killing 300-600 Filipinos per year. The most affected individuals are children between 5-14 years old. The most common rabies causing illness is the lyssaviruses present among mammals as hosts.
“Once nga rabies infected ka ket haan maagapan nga dagus ket fatal en dayta. Awanen iti agas na ta once nga narabies iti maysa nga tao iti tirtiraen na ket diay nerve inggana mapan diay utak, haanen nga curable daytoy (Once a person is already rabies infected, it is already fatal as they the virus will attack the human nerves going straight to the brain),” explained Canggat.
In Benguet, one of the traditional methods of curing rabies is tandok black stone, which is mainly performed by elders in some parts of the province.
Canggat stressed that tandok is not a recommended medical treatment for rabies because it sucks the blood. It is believed in the practice of tandok that the virus is carried in blood; however, rabies virus are carried through the nerves.
Consequently, the virus being carried in the nerves goes to the brain resulting in mostly death among infected humans.
For animals carrying rabies to be qualified for the vaccination, the animals must be healthy and three months old and above.
As of press time, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) vaccinated a total of 45, 256 in Benguet. Among the municipalities conducting mass vaccination, the highest was 90% in Sablan, 60% for Tuba and Kapangan, 50% Itogon, and lowest is 10% in Buguias and other municipalities having small percentages.
Canggat explained that responsible pet ownership is also synonymous to animal welfare.
“If the owners do not have good animal welfare for their pets, the animals do not want to touch them, which is a big problem in conducting rabies vaccination. We should all be responsible as pet owner because it is for our own good as humans as well as to our animals,” ended Canggat.
By James A. Villena