WITH Cebu City ranking first among cities with the most number of rabies-related cases in Central Visayas, the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) is conducting a massive free anti-rabies vaccination.

City Veterinarian Dr. Alice Utlang said a P6-million budget was set aside by the Bureau of Animal Industry together with the Department of Agriculture for the city-wide activity.

The massive anti-rabies vaccination started last Jan. 2 and will run until Feb. 10. It will cover the 80 barangays in the city.

“Our main focus is the vaccination of house dogs that are roaming freely. Our goal is to make the city rabies-free by 2018. This is in line with the current administration’s thrust to make the country rabies-free by 2020,” she said.

Utlang said Cebu City has the highest number of rabies-related cases in the region for 2016 totaling to 18. It is higher than the 15 cases recorded in the previous year.

Of the 18 cases, she said five were bitten by stray dogs while the others were bitten by domestic dogs.

Utlang said this is because some pets were allowed to roam freely, making them susceptible to rabies that may be transmitted to humans.

Of the 80 barangays in the city, Toong has the highest number of individuals bitten by rabid dogs followed by Kinasang-an and Bonbon.

Other villages that have rabies-related cases include Apas, Basak Pardo, Tejero, Cogon Pardo, Talamban, Kamputhaaw, Duljo-Fatima, San Antonio, Pahina Central, Mamabaling and Busay.

Deaths

In July and August last year, the City Health Department (CHD) recorded two male casualties, aged 32 and 25, who are from Toong and Busay, respectively.

“These two did not seek vaccination or treatment after they were bitten by stray dogs. While a dog bite is not as urgent as other medical cases, it still needs medication. If one is bitten, he or she must immediately go to the local health center to get anti-tetanus shots then get anti-rabies shots from CHD,” said Durinda Macasocol of the CHD Bite Treatment Center.

While all anti-rabies vaccinations provided by the City Government are for free, Utlang lamented that some barangays are not cooperating with them due to “politics.”

“Most foot-and-mouth diseases are caused by politics, declining cooperation because of affiliation. Let’s not put the lives of our constituents at stake. This increasing number (of cases) is quite alarming,” she said.