2 island-towns soon to be declared rabies-free-A A +A
Friday, April 20, 2012
TWO island-municipalities in Eastern Visayas will be declared as rabies-free within this year after maintaining nearly three years of zero incidence of the viral disease, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.
The DA has conducted an assessment in island-towns of Limasawa, Southern Leyte and Maripipi, Biliran to check the local government’s compliance with certain criteria for a place to be officially pronounced as clear from rabies.
“We are expecting these two areas to be declared as rabies-free by September 28, 2012 in time with World Rabies Day,” said Andrew Orais, DA regional livestock coordinator.
“These two areas are the first local government units in the region to be categorized as rabies-free. Their geographical location is a major factor why they were able to control rabies easily,” Orais said in a phone interview.
Same recognition is also being targeted by the agriculture department in the island-town of Almagro in Samar and the entire Biliran province.
Francis Rosaroso, DA regional information officer, said the goal for the entire region to become rabies-free is on 2016, ahead of the 2020 target of the country.
He said there is enough supply of rabies vaccines in the region with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation designed to finance rabies elimination drive until 2013.
The budget is part of the nearly $10-million fund.
“Beyond 2013, it will be the challenge of the local government units to maintain what was started and procure by themselves the vaccines for the dogs and for people accidentally bitten by dogs,” Rosaroso said.
Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007 specifically cited a penalty of P7,000 for owners who refuse to have their dogs registered and immunized, and a separate penalty of P10,000 for owners who refused to have their dogs, which had bitten someone, submit to a 14-day observation period.
Rabies is a viral disease transmitted by animals, most commonly by a bite from an infected animal. It causes inflammation of the brain in warm-blooded animals.
Rabies is almost fatal if not administered prior to the onset of severe symptoms. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)