The regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday warned residents of Oriental Mindoro to stay away from stray dogs roaming around the community as cases of deaths from rabies were reported in several of its municipalities.
“I call on everyone to be cautious, avoid contact with stray animals and educate every member of the family on the dangers of petting and bringing them home as they may be infected with the rabies virus,” DOH Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo said.
“Rabies is a very fatal viral infection that can cause death if treatment is not given promptly after being bitten by an infected animal”, he added.
According to the DOH-MIMA-ROPA Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) there were four rabies deaths reported from November 16 to December 21in four towns namely: Socorro, Pinamalayan, Gloria and Bansud.
The first recorded case of rabies death was from Bansud , 35 years old, male, admitted last November 16 and died on the same day; second case was from Gloria, 58 years old, male, admitted last November 24, died also on the same day; third case from Pinamalayan, age unknown, female, outpatient case on November 26, died also on the same day; and fourth case from Socorro, 35 years old, male, outpatient case at Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital on December 21and died the next day.
According to Janairo, when bitten by a stray dog, wash the wound immediately and vigorously with soap and water for 10 minutes, apply antiseptic (alcohol, tincture of iodine, Betadine) if needed and consult a doctor or visit the nearest Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC) for proper management.
Avoid the following practices such as sucking the wound by your mouth, applying garlic over the wound, applying “bato” over the wound, applying coin over the wound and applying “tandok” over the wound.
Vaccination of dogs is still the most effective measure against rabies, education of dog owners and the public on responsible pet ownership that should include restrictions of dogs within homes or properties.
Janairo also assured that anti-rabies vaccines are available and can be acquired immediately in animal bite centers in the province and at the Provincial Department of Health Office (PDOHO) in Calapan City. For immediate treatment and further information, please visit the animal bite treatment centers in Oriental Mindoro located in Roxas District Hospital, Pinamalayan District Hospital, Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital and Calapan City Health Office.