Monday, May 11, 2015

Kids on streets, stray dogs:
bad combination in summer

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol May 8 (PIA) --It is not for anything, but the more kids are exposed to the streets this summer, the bigger are the chances some stray dog gets to bite them.

This sums up the theory a key rabies authority in Bohol shares on air at the recent Kapihan sa PIA, Thursday. 

Summer, the time of year when kids take to the streets for absence of schools, also mark that time when parents spin tales of biting "irong-buang" and "tirong" which eats children, maybe to dissuade kids from going out. It hardly works however. 

Asked if there is any connection between the heat of summer and the proliferation of dog bites, Polizena Rances, human rabies coordinator at the Provincial Health Office said unlikely. 

What is certain, according to her however is, the summer vacation allows more kids off in the streets, exposing them to a lot of chances of being bitten by stray dogs. 

This is also despite Provincial Ordinance No 2. series of 1998, which strengthened the provincial Rabies Prevention and Elimination program through its two pronged approach: dog rabies prevention and elimination as well as human rabies prevention.

On top of these two is the basic dictum of responsible pet ownership. 

The ordinance mandates a forced registration and vaccination of all dogs and imposes P500 to dog owners who allow their dogs off into public places.

The ordinance also mandates dog owners to shoulder the financial responsibilities of anti-rabies shots for victims, should their dogs figure in a biting incident.

A Bantay Rabies sa Barangay (BRB) team is tasked to catch these dogs on the streets, according to the Provincial Ordinance. 

In the past years however, from a zero rabies case when the program started seriously implementing in 2008, Bohol now owns three suspected human rabies cases, sources from the PHO revealed. 

The PHO however is careful not to reveal these victim's identities, possibly for lack of confirmatory tests.

On this Rances, who is also a nurse said Bohol has no capability to validate death cases is these were from rabies as there is not facility here that can make confirmatory tests. 

On the management of bite cases, Rances suggested the bites be washed with clean running water and the victim be brought to the nearest Rural Health Unit for immediate examination and proper referrals.

Bohol has also set up privately-run Animal Bite Treatment Centers, the facilities where one can get anti-rabies inoculations which would be administered on day 0, day 3, day 7 and day 28. Shots would be cost-shared by the government, the biting dog owner and the victim, if there is a need for more shots. 

She also urged biting dog owners, especially dog which have been vaccinated, to just keep their dogs for a mandatory 14-days observation period: any changes in the dog behavior must be reported immediately.

They must continue treating the dog like nothing has happened so that the post bite observation can be reliable, she said. 

In several cases, Rances said dogs are kept on leash, but have been denied food, water and the usual care they die, muddling the management of the human bite case. 

In fact, in some cases, biting dogs have been slaughtered, and the worst, the meat consumed. 

This, she said is dangerous as the rabies, if the dog has, could easily be carried over to humans. (rac/PIA-7Bohol)

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