ABTC: Rabies deaths decrease in Davao City

Davao City’s Animal Bite and Treatment Center rues deaths due to rabies since vaccination is already available
ABTC: Rabies deaths decrease in Davao City
Davao City Veterinarian’s Office

A REPRESENTATIVE from the Animal Bite and Treatment Centers (ABTCs) said that the number of rabies deaths has decreased from 13 in 2022 to four in 2023.

Dr. Annaliza Malubay, medical officer of ABTCs, said during the ISpeak media forum on Thursday morning, May 2, 2024, at the City Mayor's Office, that the decrease is attributed to the strengthened information on the anti-rabies vaccination of the center.

“Effective ang atoang awareness, effective atoang vaccination…kay naa man gyud tay vaccine, dapat wala nay mamatay kay naa tay vaccine (Our awareness [campaign] is effective, our vaccination is effective…because we have vaccine, there should be no more mortality caused by rabies),” Dr. Malubay said.

Of the four deaths, Malubay expressed that these were usually ages 35 to 68 years old and male. She added that most of them were bitten by dogs and did not receive any vaccination or were not able to complete the three doses. 

Malubay attributed their death to being overconfident and thinking that it would not lead to death. She shared the two ways of contracting rabies: bite and non-bites; non-bite refers to scratches and an open wound licked by a pet infected by rabies. 

Malubay expressed that for 2024, their goal is to have zero mortality caused by rabies, adding that in order to achieve this goal, pet owners must vaccinate their pets with an anti-rabies vaccine. She said prevention against death caused by rabies must start with the pet owners. If every pet were vaccinated the World Health Organization’s (WHO) goal of zero human rabies death by 2030 would be achievable.

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She also clarified that traditional practices such as “tandok,” which is the removal of venom, rabies, and tetanus from a wound by using an animal horn, as described by the Philippine Journal of Science, and putting raw garlic on the wound, do not help fight off rabies; rather, they only worsen the injury. She said that only vaccination is the most effective way of rabies treatment. 

Some of the best practices when someone is bitten by a cat or dog are to immediately wash the wound with running water and soap for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then, the bitten individual must proceed to the nearest ABTC for their vaccination. 

In a report by the ABTCs, for the year 2023, their Magallanes office had catered to a total of 17,617 patients. Of that number, only 16,435 have completed three dosages. There were 9,278 patients who were bitten by dogs, around 8,322 were bitten by cats, nine by monkeys, four by pigs, and four by bats. 

The center caters to about 100 to 120 new cases a day excluding senior citizens and persons with disabilities. 

Malubay encouraged Dabawenyos to not only flock to the main office of the ABTCs as there are seven other locations scattered in Davao City to cater to all the residents. These areas are the ABTC Toril, ABTC Mintal Health Center, ABTC Calinan District Barangay Talomo River, ABTC Marilog District Hospital, ABTC Angliongto-Sasa District, ABTC Bunawan, and ABTC Paquibato District Hospital. RGP

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