MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is reminding pet owners to ensure that their pets are vaccinated as a preventive measure against rabies.
According to DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, it is important that a pet dog is vaccinated to make sure that in case it bites somebody, the victim will not be at risk of being afflicted with rabies.
“Sometimes you really cannot prevent dogs from biting… What is really important is to ensure that they are vaccinated,” Garin said as she assured that vaccinated dogs will not be able to transmit rabies to humans.
Rabies is primarily transmitted from the saliva of a rabid animal when it bites or scratches someone.
Rabies can be commonly acquired by children under 15 years old, especially during summertime wherein the youngsters are in vacation mode from school while some pets are quite irritated with the summer heat, causing them to bite intentionally or unintentionally.
While rabies could be fatal, it is also 100 percent preventable, according to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) of the DOH.
To prevent rabies from afflicting humans, especially the children, the RITM has issued the following reminders:
* Never touch unfamiliar or wild animal.
* Avoid direct contact with stray animals (stray cats and dogs may not have been vaccinated against rabies).
* Never adopt wild animals or bring them in your home.
* Do not try to nurse seek wild animals back to health and instead call an animal control person or an animal group that can take care of everything safely.
* Make sure your trash cans are closed-up tight and don’t have pet food out.
Meanwhile, here are the first things to do after being bitten by an animal:
* Wounds should be washed and flushed immediately with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes. (If soap is not available, flush with water alone; this is the most effective first-aid treatment against rabies).
* Wounds should be cleaned thoroughly with 70 percent alcohol ethanol or povidone-iodine, if available.
* As soon as possible, take the person to a healthcare facility for further treatment
Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) members and their dependents can get the treatment from the 154 accredited-animal bite treatment centers nationwide.
The PhilHealth package pays the cost up to Php3,000 directly to the accredited ABTC.
The payment covers rabies vaccine (immunoglobulin) for the person bitten/scratched by the animal, anti-tetanus toxoid, antibiotic, syringes, other supplies incurred in the treatment and doctor’s fee.
Every year, March is being observed as National Rabies Awareness Month to promote responsible pet ownership and in eliminating rabies cases in the country.