By Elsha Marie B. Soriano
DAGUPAN CITY – The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in Pangasinan will conduct a three-month simultaneous mass vaccination from March to May in order to eliminate human rabies cases in the province.
Dr. Eric Jose Perez, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) in Pangasinan, said the massive vaccination aims to provide immunization to the entire province’s dog population and prevent and control rabies incidence in the province in line with the celebration of Rabies Awareness Month in March.
“The massive vaccination is a concerted effort of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Ilocos Region, the provincial government of Pangasinan and all line agencies concerned in the rabies prevention and control campaign,” said Perez adding that the vaccine requirement is now subject for funding.
Perez said 70 percent of the 268,200 estimated total dog population in Pangasinan was set as PVO’s target to be immunized last year but only 22 percent or equivalent to 41,772 dogs in the entire province were vaccinated even though vaccination is a year-round activity of his office.
He said despite information-education activities, the lack of public information about rabies risks and how the disease can be prevented and controlled remains a factor to why rabies incidence is high in the province.
“Whenever we conduct dog vaccination, residents in some villages would tell us their dogs do not really need vaccination because their dogs won’t bite (a wrong perceptioon),” explained Perez.
He urged all dog owners to practice responsible ownership and get their pets vaccinated.
Based from PVO data, five human deaths due to rabies have been recorded as of February. In 2014, ten cases of human deaths caused by rabies virus was recorded up from five cases recorded in 2013, said Perez.
Likewise, he said some 33 rabid dog cases were recorded in 2013 and 26 positive rabies cases in 2014.
“Perhaps our rabies prevention and control campaign is still inadequate to educate all the people on the ground,” Perez lamented stressing that people are generally neglecting the value of their efforts to eradicate rabies incidence.
Perez added that rabies is a deadly disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans caused by virus.
“If a person is bitten by an animal, the first thing to do is wash the wound with flowing water and soap, then clean thoroughly with tincture of iodine or alcohol and immediately bring the victim to the animal bite center for treatment and vaccination,” he advised. (MCA/EMBS/PIA-1, Pangasinan)