MANILA – The government is intensifying its campaign against rabies, as it targets to declare the country free from the deadly disease by 2020.
Dr. Emelinda Lopez, head of the Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry, said the country was working towards the elimination of rabies, an infectious disease that could have negative effect on tourism industry.
“Rabies is major factor that will turn off tourists… We should try to lessen the incidence of rabies not just for the tourists but also safer community,” Lopez said in an interview.
She noted that human rabies deaths average 200 a year, while animal rabies deaths at 300 to 500 cases per year.
Lopez said concerned agencies have facilitated the promotion of measures and strategies that supported the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program in line with Republic Act 9482, also known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007.
She stressed that partners of this program include the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), the Department of Education, Biodiversity Management Bureau, local government units (LGUs), academe and non-government and people’s organizations.
“We encourage LGUs and the regions to focus vaccination in certain months in soonest possible time,” Lopez said.
Further, Lopez said the intensified campaign against rabies also supports the ASEAN Rabies Elimination Strategy (ARES) and global elimination of canine-mediated rabies by 2030.
She added that ASEAN member countries have made rabies a priority and regional in scope, encompassing the Asia Pacific and Southeast Asian regions.