ANIMALS catch various illnesses that could cause sickness on humans in close contact with them if left unchecked.

This is the rationale behind the Provincial Government's stepped up efforts to vaccinate animals that are reportedly involved in incidences of illness.

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According to John Michael Castro, agricultural technologist of the Pampanga Provincial Veterinary Office (PVET), their office has allotted the whole month of January 2010 for the re-vaccination of pigs in the municipality of Floridablanca.

"The Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) vaccine which is injected in affected porcine is effective for only four months and re-vaccination is needed to ensure continuous protection," Castro explained.

He added that there were many PRRS like cases in Floridablanca in the year 2007, killing many pigs that time, and which had been thought to be hog cholera cases.

Because of the prompt vaccination efforts of the PVEt, Castro said, there are now only a few cases of the disease in said town.

"Our vaccination efforts had not been confined to Floridablanca, they extended to the nearby town of Guagua."

In May 2009, however, some PRRS cases were recorded in the town of San Simon, prompting the PVET office to focus their vaccination efforts in the area.

According to Castro, many backyard livestock raisers live in the second district of Pampanga, thus, the PVET has "prioritized the area for PRRS vaccination to avoid the 2007 high PRRS incidence."

The areas in the said district that were considered high-risk of the disease are Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Sta. Rita, and Porac.

It was also learned from the PVET office that the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) has been providing the PRRS vaccines.

However, the Provincial Government of Pampanga has started purchasing its own supplies of the vaccine out of the 5 percent of its calamity fund through the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.

Castro further disclosed that the PVET has planned for an Animal Health Protection Program to address the needs of livestock farmers without declaring the province in a state of calamity.

Under this program, they will purchase vaccines against PRRS, rabies, hog cholera and hemosept, disinfectants, antibiotics, vitamins and vaccination paraphernalia.

Relative to this, the Regional Diagnostic Disease Laboratory reported the first rabies positive dog case to the PVet office on January 11 this year.

It was learned from a report submitted by Rhea Calingo of the PVET that the case happened in Barangay Camba, Arayat town.

Upon receiving the call regarding the case, Agerico Nicdao, immediately scheduled the date of the vaccination, and informed Allan Tiongco, the Rabies Task Force Coordinator about it. Thus, two days after the report was received, an anti-rabies vaccination was conducted in Camba, in coordination with the local government unit of Arayat.

"It is a standard operating procedure to prioritize vaccination in the area where a rabies positive case is reported," Nicdao said.

As a result, some 200 dogs belonging to 160 owners were vaccinated, and 200 pieces of relevant reading materials were distributed to residents.

It was learned from the PVet that another vaccination in Camba will be scheduled next year to provide continuous protection from the rabies virus to both pets and humans. (Eloisa P. Galang/Pampanga PIO)