BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
An increase of 39 percent in rabies cases in Negros Occidental was noted by the Provincial Veterinary Office this year as compared to last year.
Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena said yesterday that from January to May last year, there were only six cases of rabies while there were 13 in the same period this year.
Decena said that the increase was attributed to the strict restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic since last year that resulted in the dismal number of dogs vaccinated.
He said that of the 273,000 dog population, only 126,484 were vaccinated or about 46.95 percent which was short of the target of 70 percent, or 191,100 dogs, to attain herd immunity.
As of May 2021, the top three local government units with highest number of rabies positive dogs were Himamaylan City, followed by Victorias City, and the municipality of Cauayan, PVO records show.
Other LGUs with rabies positive cases this year are Toboso, EB Magalona, Silay City, Pontevedra, and Sagay City.
With this, the PVO, through its provincial veterinary district field units, in coordination with the concerned LGUs conducted immediate massive vaccinations, Decena said.
He said 74,781 dogs were vaccinated provincewide against rabies, while 468 stray dogs were impounded by LGUs, of which 437 were terminated and 31 were redeemed and adopted.
Decena urged dog owners to have their pets vaccinated annually and not allow the animals to roam the streets to prevent the contamination and spread of rabies. There should also be a dog population control, like spaying and neutering, compulsory leashing, and movement control such as dog impounding, he added.
The province is planning to buy additional rabies vaccines to increase the vaccination target.
Victims of dog bites are advised to seek appropriate medical attention as soon as possible since there is no cure once rabies symptoms start.*