TAGBILARAN CITY, June 14 (PIA)--With the costs in treating animal bite cases, Bohol Rabies Prevention and Elimination Council (BRPEC) appeal to Boholano dog owners to always keep their pets under control by leash or fence.
The appeal also intends to help health authorities and local leaders bring the rabies spread threat to insignificant level, especially now that health authorities have defined it as a public health concern.
No less than human rabies coordinator at the Provincial Health Office Polizena Rances bared that rabies has just become a public health concern.
Rances showed in a council meeting recently that dog bite cases in Bohol reached 7,812 in 2015, from 6,506 in 2014. Last year, of all the reported bite cases, 5 were tested positive for rabies.
She also showed that 53% of those bitten as to sexes were males and to ages, 53% were 15 years old below and only 64% of the seriously bitten cases are given RIG, according to data from 2015.
The same Rances report bared that there is a considerable access to post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) among bite victims, but of the 64% govern PEP, only about 93% complete the mandated 3-4 anti-rabies shots.
In Bohol, when the BRPE Program uses a multi-pronged approach, other than advocating for responsible pet ownership, information education and communication, dog population control, elimination of unwanted strays, monitoring and surveillance as well as dog bite management.
A provincial ordinance governs the implementation of the program, explains Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, provincial Veterinarian and program executive officer.
But, as to bite management, issues brought out by the council show a problem with human rabies.
"Less fortunate victims cannot afford to spend the remaining doses of PET and only a few category 2 bite cases can afford to buy and manage RIG," reports Rances in front of the council.
While the initials vaccine shots for the bite victims can be sourced out from the government funds, the suceeding second to fourth dose when necessary, would have to be paid by the patient or the owner of the biting dog,a ccording to the provincial rabies ordinance.
And with the increasing number of bite victims, there has not been an indication of increasing the budget for vaccine shots to the bite victims, she added.
Another problem that she saw was that the vaccine supplier can hold the province hostage for its unpaid pre-qualified vaccines.
The sole distributor of the WHO pre-qualified vaccines [will] not deliver the vaccine if the PLGU has unpaid account, while some established privately owned animal bite treatment centers in Bohol use different vaccines and sometimes, not World Health Organization certified vaccine and IG, she told members of the council meeting at Casa Rey Francis.
She also alleged that Department of Health vaccines supply are irregular, prompting people to just buy from sources only to realize that these are not according to WHO pre qualification.
Bit victims who also happen to get their initials shots from the private Animal Bite Treatment Centers are accordingly refused continuation of inoculation shots in government facilities as some health experts doubt the effectivity of vaccines not WHO prequalified.
Over all these harrowing tales of bite victims needing management, Council members rather urge people to curb the dog biting incidents by being responsible pet owners who keep their dogs off from biting people. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)