ABTC caters to thousands of animal bite patients

ABTC caters to thousands of animal bite patients

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya (PGNV) headed by Governor Carlos M. Padilla has been catering to a relatively steady stream of scores of patients through its Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC) at the Provincial Capitol in Bayombong.

According to ABTC Chief Edson G. Dumanay, who also concurrently serves as National Rabies Prevention and Control Program (NRPCP) Coordinator under the Provincial Integrated Health Office (PIHO) headed by Dr. Edwin B. Galapon, the province has registered a total of 8,578 cases in CY2021, broken down by municipality as follows: Bayombong (2,429), Bambang (1323), Bagabag (905), Aritao (852), Quezon (617), Villaverde (460), Solano (424), Dupax del Norte (374), Kasibu (342), Dupax del Sur (294), Diadi (246), Santa Fe (171), Ambaguio (55), Kayapa (84), and Alfonso Castañeda (2).

4,522 (or 52.72%) of the total number of animal bite cases are females, and 4,761 (or 55.50%) of them are aged 15 years and above. The ABTC has registered a lone rabies casualty from the Municipality of Villaverde, who reportedly resorted to “suma/tandok” treatment.

Dogs dominated the biting animals with 6,447 cases (or 75.16%), followed by Cats with 2,104 (or 24.53%). The remaining 27 (or 0.31%) are associated with other animals, such as pigs, cows, horses, rabbits, and monkeys.

For the four-month period ended April 30, 2022, the ABTC had already logged a total of 3,523 cases, which is about 41.07% of those registered in CY2021.

According to the DOH, “Rabies is considered to be a neglected disease, which is 100% fatal, though 100% preventable. It is not among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the country, but it is regarded as a significant public health problem because (a) it is one of the most acutely fatal infections, and (b) it is responsible for the death of 200-300 Filipinos annually.”

ABTC Chief Dumanay also explained that “Rabies is an infection among humans which occurs after a bite or scratch on the skin by infected animals. It can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin wound or bruise. Rabies may also occur, though in very rare cases, through inhalation of virus-containing spray or through organ transplants.”

“The NRPCP is being implemented by the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with several organizations/agencies, which include the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), World Health Organization (WHO), and Animal Welfare Coalition (AWC)”, he added.

Assisting ABTC Chief Dumanay as Frontline Nurse Workers are: Kristine Joy Bartolome, Casual; Irene Mae C. Ramos, COS; Charity Paola Joy D. Labog, COS; and Ezra Ella Elizabeth M. Juliana, COS.

They said that all Rabies vaccinations are being administered for free to all qualified Novo Vizcayanos for the whole duration of their treatment, and that priority is given to senior citizens, persons with disability, and pregnant women. There are also ABTCs at the R2TMC and Solano MHO.

Based on their interactions with patients, they surmise that about 40% of the involved animals are stray and that only a small percentage of them have been vaccinated. “Aside from the Rabies problem that they pose among our people, stray animals are also being complained about by passersby and motorists as road nuances and cause of accidents”, they added. This indeed calls for much stricter implementation of applicable laws and ordinances by our law enforcers.

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