THE Cebu Government’s Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) has recorded the first rabies case in the city for this year.

DVMF Chief Dr. Alice Utlang said a 16-year-old girl from Nivel Hills, Barangay Lahug died from a dog bite yesterday morning.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Utlang said the child’s death could have been prevented if she continued with her rabies vaccination.

“Kato man gud siya, nahibaw-an nako nga kausa lang siya nagpabakuna, wa na ningbalik sa health center. Series man unta na ang pagpabakuna, dapat kaupat siya nagpa-inject (She failed to complete her vaccination),” she said.

Rabies is a viral infection that can be transmitted to humans. A virus of the Rhabdoviridae family, which attacks the central nervous system, causes it.

The virus is usually excreted in an infected animal’s saliva, and is almost always fatal once symptoms or signs appear.

According to Utlang, the child was bitten by a puppy in January yet. Since Aug. 1, the child had been showing signs and symptoms of human rabies which includes fever, among others.

The child was rushed to Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) where she was diagnosed with rabies. She died yesterday morning.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Utlang said the City Government cannot be blamed for the incident.

“Kay naa baya gyud tay bakuna (Because we have vaccines),” she said.

At the Capitol, security consultant Cesar Veloso said the agency they hired for its police dogs is accredited by the PNP and has certificates of training from the Philippine Canine Club Inc. (PCCI), dog owners and breeders association.

Veloso denied reports that Vincent Lacio, the handler of Black Magic, the security dog assigned at the Capitol, has no permit.

Black Magic

Black Magic, a Belgian Malinois police dog, has been replaced by a Labrador after it bit a four-year-old girl last Aug. 3.

Veloso said the agency and the victim’s family have amicably settled the incident.

PB Member Sun Shimura, committee chairman on security and peace and order, said he may look into the qualifications set by Capitol in hiring the agencies for security dogs.

Veloso said Capitol hired the services of Caninetech Agency for security dogs because the Province has no capability to train dogs.

The Central Command and the PNP have their own security dogs but in the Capitol they hired from the private individuals.

Joy Tabotabo, regional rabies coordinator of the Department of Health (DOH) 7, said Cebu Province ranked number three in the country as having the most number of human rabies cases.

Tabotabo has yet to see what areas ranked first and second.

“Kung availability sa vaccines, naa man ta sa DOH. Murag gi-taken for granted lang gyud nila ba ang ilahang pinaakan sa iro. Another thing is ang vaccination sa mga iro sa Province, low kaayo mao daghan og rabid dogs (We have available vaccines, but they took it for granted. There’s also a low anti-rabies vaccination of dogs in the Province),” said Tabotabo when asked why there is a high number of rabies cases in the Province.

Tabotabo said there is a need to intensify information campaign on how rabies can be prevented and on responsible pet ownership.