The Philippines through the National Rabies Committee (NRC) spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) will join the world in the celebration of World Rabies Day on September 29, 2011 at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Coalition, and Merial, Novartis, Sanofi and Nestle Philippines, Inc.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the celebration will raise public awareness and understanding about the importance of rabies prevention. “Rabies is the oldest and deadliest disease known to mankind and the people should know how to protect themselves, their pets and the community, as well,” Alcala added.
NRC is an inter-agency committee composed of Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), private sector and non-government organizations.
DA-BAI assistant director and NRC chairman Dr. Victor Atienza said rabies is primarily a disease of children with about 2.8 deaths per million population, and of which 40% are children below 15 years old. “Children are particularly at risk from this terrible disease, due to their close contact with dogs, the major global source. They are more likely to suffer multiple bites and scratches to the face and head, both of which carry a higher risk of contracting rabies. They are often unaware of the danger that dogs transmit rabies and may not tell their parents when a bite, lick, or scratch has occurred from an infected animal” he added.
“Working Together for a Rabies-Free Philippines” is this year’s theme. To increase public awareness on the rabies prevention, NRC has lined up the following activities in partnership with Merial Philippines, Inc. (MPI), Sanofi Pasteur, New Marketlink and SM Pet Express at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
• National Poster Presentation of Rabies Activities
• Launch of Rabies Free Philippines Pins
• Awarding of Rabies Free Zones (Camotes Group of Islands and Malapascua Island)
• Free Photo booth and Games for Kids
• Live Entertainment
Rabies is a viral disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans. The disease is transmitted mainly by bite, but exposure may also occur through contamination of broken skin or mucous membranes with saliva from an infected animal. Once neurological symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal to both animals and humans. Vaccination prior to possible exposure is a crucial part of health management of domestic animals, and is the single most important factor in rabies prevention.
Rabies prevention starts with the animal owner. Protect yourself, your pet and your community by taking animals to be vaccinated. Avoid stray animals. If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately. If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately. Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals. Victor C. Atienza, DVM, FRVC, CESO IV, Assistant Director and Chairman, National Rabies Committee, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY