The local government of Sablan town, near Baguio, has declared a state of emergency following an alarming spike in rabies cases.
“The purpose of declaring the municipality under the state of emergency is for us to adopt measures and strategies to contain the further spread of the rabies virus in the municipality and likewise in the adjacent municipalities of Benguet and the province of La Union,” Sablan vice-mayor Arthur Baldo said at a press conference today (Friday, August 2).
Town records show that 43 people have been exposed to the virus.
The first case involved a dog that bit three people and exposed eight others to the virus.
The second case involved a dog that bit two people and led to the exposure of 35.
The third case involved a rabid dog, but the animal did not bite anyone.
Those exposed included the technicians who handled the dogs without protective gear and the drivers that delivered the dogs to a laboratory.
Baldo said those bitten and all those who were exposed to the virus have been given anti-rabies vaccines.
Baldo said Sablan did not have any rabies case for several years as the town conducts an annual anti-rabies vaccination of dogs and cats. “We have been doing this for several years as a preventive measure,” he said.
Action on rabies cases
However, with the recent spike in bites, there was a need to immediately address the situation, he added.
The declaration of the state of emergency will allow officials to access the Quick Response Fund to buy vaccines that cost 1,000 pesos for each shot. Four are required for each person.
The town will also purchase collars and leashes to contain all stray dogs and cats.
An information campaign is also underway with the help of barangay officials and health workers.
Pet owners have been urged to contact the municipal veterinary office to arrange vaccinations.
Sablan has a population of 11,457 and there have been 1,700 cats and dogs already vaccinated. “Some households have 10 pets. Sablan people are animal lovers,” Baldo said.
“I believe with this help of the provincial vet, the regional office, and even you, the media, to spread the information that everyone should have to take care of their pets, we can positively contain the spread of the virus,” he added.