The Philippines has reported 43 cases of rabies, all fatalities, from January 1 to February 18, the Department of Health (DOH) said.
The latest figure is lower by 4 percent compared with the same period in 2022, the DOH said.
“The 43 cases are not actually rabies cases. These are animal bite cases,” DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a press briefing Tuesday.
“Usually, animal bites would come from the owners. ‘Yung mismong pets nila sa bahay malaki ang naitatala natin na mga numero na nakakagat din ‘yung mga may-ari.”
Data from the DOH’s epidemiology bureau showed that rabies had a case fatality rate of 100 percent.
Central Luzon and Calabarzon recorded the highest number of rabies infections, both with 8 cases. They are followed by Bicol Region and Davao Region, also both with 4 cases.
The country observes Rabies Awareness Month in March.
Rabies is an infection that occurs after a transdermal bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats, the DOH said. It can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions, it added.
Vergeire said they are coordinating with various agencies to further strengthen programs on responsible pet ownership, strict implementation of local rabies control ordinances, proper management of animal bites, promotion of dog vaccination, and control of stray animals, among others.