Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has ordered the city’s Health department to conduct a massive free anti-rabies vaccination in Manila as part of the observance of the Rabies Awareness Month and to make the city rabies-free.
Estrada, who is seeking a third and last term in office, also ordered the department to go after stray dogs and cats to put them in city’s impounding ground and have them vaccinated with anti-rabies.
At the same time, Manila Health department chief Dr. Benjamin Yson encouraged pet owners to have their pets vaccinated to ensure their dogs and cats would not put residents in danger.
Records from the Department of Health showed that animal bite deaths rose from 200 to 300 yearly due to rabies infections.
The high incidence of rabies deaths was blamed on the rising number of stray dogs in the city’s streets and because some owners allowed their pets to roam freely, making them susceptible to rabies that may be transmitted to humans.
In 1999, during his incumbency as president, Estrada signed Executive Order No. 84 declaring March as National Rabies Prevention Month.
To prevent more deaths due to rabies, Estrada urged all barangay leaders to cooperate with the city’s anti-rabies program.
He said dog and cat bite victims does not cause instant death unless they did not seek immediate medical attention.
“But once you are bitten, as a precaution, go see a doctor right away and get anti-rabies vaccines,” Estrada said.
Since dogs and cats are common household pets and constantly have contact with humans, Estrada urged owners to have their pets vaccinated to protect them from infection.
The mayor also directed Yson and the Veterinary Inspection Board to conduct free deworming, spaying and other pet-related activities in all barangays in the city.
“Rabies can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions. If bitten, owners must isolate their pets and observe them for at least 15 days to look for symptoms of rabies infection,” Yson said.
Signs include paralysis of the throat and jaw muscles, foaming of the mouth, loss of appetite seizures, and sudden death.