Pangasinan Health Official Urges Vaccination After Rise in Rabies Cases

PANGASINAN — Following a concerning uptick in rabies fatalities within the province, a health executive has underscored the critical importance of immediate vaccination for individuals bitten by animals. Pangasinan has witnessed an increase from two rabies-related deaths last year to three fatalities between January 1 and April 1 of this year.

According to Philippines News Agency, during a virtual forum on Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Cielo Almoite highlighted the tragic outcomes for three residents of Aguilar, Sison, and Bayambang towns, aged 84, 11, and 63. These individuals did not receive anti-rabies vaccinations after being bitten, two by pet dogs and one by a stray. Dr. Almoite emphasized the lethal nature of rabies, noting the absence of survival once symptoms manifest.

Dr. Almoite further detailed that anti-rabies vaccines are readily accessible at no cost in local health units and centers, with the treatment regimen varying up to four injections depending on the exposure category. She also advocated for responsible pet ownership, pointing out that the Provincial Veterinary Office offers free vaccinations for pets.

Echoing Dr. Almoite's concerns, Paula Paz Sydiongco, director of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development in the Ilocos Region, spoke at the forum about the broader implications of the increase in rabies incidents. She called for a collaborative effort to enhance anti-rabies initiatives, emphasizing the importance of educating pet owners, ensuring vaccination of domestic animals, and making vaccines available across all animal bite treatment centers. The unified approach aims to mitigate the persistent rabies threat in the Philippines, a preventable yet devastating disease targeting the central nervous system.