Animal bites record grows, but only due to awareness

ANIMAL bite cases in the city are rising but only because of higher awareness among the victims, the City Health Office said.

“More people are aware they need proper medical attention,” said Dr. Annaliza Malubay, CHO physician at the anti-rabies section, before proceeding to the city’s animal bite treatment centers (ABTC) where  their case gets recorded.

She discouraged ‘alternative’ bite treatments such as the tandok procedure, which can only expand the wound. Some people also place garlic or chili peppers on the belief it cleanses the wound.

“It can only lead to burns and even further infection,” she added.

In the first quarter of this year, there were already 1,906 bite cases recorded, mostly by dogs. The figure is only 350 less for the whole year of 2015. In 2014, they recorded 2,031 bite cases.

The CHO, along with the City Veterinarian’s Office, is pushing for responsible pet ownership, which includes keeping pets leased or within the property or vaccinating them regularly.

Their office is also waiting to confirm if the death of one patient from Marilog was due to rabies. The patient was bitten by an animal and got sick about two months ago.

In 2014, the city registered six deaths from rabies and four, which included a nine-year-old residing in Piapi along Quezon Boulevard.

“Rabies is a serious public health problem, and 200 to 300 people die annually in the country because of rabies,” she said.

She said so far in the Davao region, only the Island Garden City of Samal had no rabies cases for the past three years.

“They are on their way to being declared rabies free,” Malubay added.

Meanwhile, more animal bite treatment centers (ABTC) are needed in the city for people to have immediate access to treatment.

Currently, there are only five centers in the city: in Magsaysay near Mini- forest, in Tugbok, Toril, Paquibato, and in the Southern Philippines Medical Center. Currently, the Baguio district health center is awaiting their necessary paperwork to put up a bite center in their area.

“It would be nice if Calinan can have one too,” said Malubay.

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