DOH advises parents: Monitor kids vs dog bites this summer PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 13:56

With plenty of time to play this summer vacation, the Department of Health (DOH) has advised parents to closely monitor their children from getting bitten by dogs, whether in the household or in the neighborhood.

“It is already summer, school is about to end (or has ended). Children will have more chances to interact with animals, so beware of dog bites,” Dr. Eric Tayag, DOH assistant secretary and spokesperson, said.

In case a child is bitten by a dog, Dr. Tayag said the first aid treatment for the victim begins with extensive washing of the wound with soap and water, and should be promptly followed up by anti-rabies immunization.

Meanwhile, in celebration of the Rabies Awareness Month in March of every year, the National Rabies Committee (NRC), composed of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), DOH and concerned private groups, organized a forum last Tuesday to urge local government officials to
strictly implement Republic Act No. 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007.

Under the law, pet owners should provide their dogs or pets with proper grooming, adequate food and clean shelter, and most importantly, have their dogs regularly vaccinated against rabies as well as not allowing dogs to roam in any public place without a leash.

Dog owners must also report within 24 hours any dog- biting incident to concerned officials for investigation or for any appropriate actions as well as shoulder the medical expenses of the victim.

According to partial data from the Annual Bite Victims Report of the DOH, the number of rabies cases (dog remain the principal cause of rabies cases) increased by 11 percent from 262,000 cases in 2010 to 293,203 cases in 2011.

On the other hand, the number of deaths from rabies declined from 257 in 2010 to 203 last year, according to Raffy Deray, DOH rabies project coordinator.
Meanwhile, the DOH is working on improving the access and compliance to post-exposure prophylaxis of those who are exposed to rabies.

This includes the establishment of more animal bite centers and encouraging the local government units (LGUs) to provide anti-rabies vaccines to their constituents.

The NRC aims to wipe out rabies in the country by 2020, and to do that, it is urging dog owners to have their pets vaccinated against the disease.