MANILA — Some 284 rabies cases have been reported in the Philippines since the beginning of the year, the Department of Health said Friday.
The figure is 33 percent higher than the 214 rabies cases recorded during the same period in 2021.
According to Dr. Alethea De Guzman, director of DOH's epidemiology bureau, all of the rabies cases this yea resulted in death.
"Kadalasan ang isang rabies case ay mga deaths na po. Wala tayong halos nakikita na rabies na buhay po," she said in a press briefing. "Ibig sabihin, 100 percent ang case fatality o tsansa na mamatay ang isang taong may rabies."
DOH data showed that 71 percent or 201 of the rabies cases were male and 14 percent or 41 were aged 60 and above.
Majority of the rabies cases or 86 percent (245) were from dog bites, De Guzman said. Of the figure, 35 percent or 86 were unvaccinated dogs.
Some 8 percent of the total rabies cases came from cats while the other 6 percent were tagged as unspecified.
From January 1 to October 1, Central Luzon (42), Calabarzon (34) and Davao Region and Soccsksargen (both have 29) logged the most number of rabies cases.
As of October 1, 8 of the 9 provinces declared as rabies-free zones had no rabies case reported, the DOH said. One has to reapply for rabies-free status due to the detection of rabies among animals by the Bureau of Animal Industry in 2019.
Meanwhile, some 45 rabies-free areas remained free from rabies case.
The following were in the DOH's list for having no rabies case reported from 2017-2022:
- Baguio City
- Mt. Province
National Capital Region
- San Juan City
- Mandaluyong City
The World Health Organization described rabies as a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease.
The incubation period for rabies is typically 2–3 months but may vary from 1 week to 1 year, dependent upon factors such as the location of virus entry and viral load, the agency said.
Initial symptoms of rabies include fever with pain and unusual or unexplained tingling, pricking, or burning sensation at the wound site, it added.
The WHO said vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective strategy in preventing rabies in people.
Dog vaccination reduces deaths attributable to dog-mediated rabies and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis as a part of dog bite patient care.