IN THE bid to address the province's need for additional anti-rabies vaccine, the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has been urging local government units (LGUs) to allocate funds for its purchase.
Dr. Ryan Janoya, head of Animal Health and Meat Inspection Services Division of the PVO, said the Bureau of Animal Industry can only provide 500 vials of rabies vaccine for the province this year.
Janoya said that though the Provincial Government also purchased additional vaccines, the available supply is not yet enough to cover the entire dog population in Negros Occidental.
“Negros Occidental lacks vaccines for dogs, thus, LGUs should not only rely on the Provincial Government,” he said. “We are doing visits with mayors and other local officials encouraging them to allocate budget for anti-rabies vaccines.”
PVO records show that the dog population in the province, excluding Bacolod City, is at 262,000.
The figure is just based on household survey. It does not cover stray dogs.
Of the total population, at least six percent, or almost 16,000 heads, were already vaccinated as of Jan. 31.
Janoya said this is still “minimal” as PVO increased its target vaccination to 80 percent.
Citing PVO records, Janoya said they have been reaching their previous vaccination target of 70 percent. It reached 90 percent in the previous years.
However, there are still positive rabies cases every year. PVO attributed it to the presence of stray dogs.
Stray dogs are usually not covered by the house-to-house vaccination as these animals are on the streets, Janoya said.
“Stray dogs have become the reservoir of rabies virus in the community. Thus, we are currently focusing on intensifying the catching and impounding measures through the support of LGUs,” he continued.
Janoya pointed out that LGUs are considered front liners in terms of stray dog control. Under the Anti-Rabies Act, it is the responsibility of the local government.
PVO's main intervention is providing technical support especially among LGUs with no veterinarians to facilitate humane handling and termination of stray animals, he said.
For this year, there are three positive cases of canine rabies in the province: one in Candoni and two from Himamaylan City.
Data obtained by PVO from the Provincial Health Office showed there are already six suspected human deaths due to rabies this year. Two of these cases are reported in Himamaylan City, and one each in Bago City, Moises Padilla, Sagay City and Cauayan.
Janoya said they are still waiting for the result of confirmatory tests from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.
To address the situation, PVO continues to conduct quick response measures in these areas including blanket vaccination, he added. (EPN)