BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Provincial Health Office (PHO) yesterday expressed alarm over the increasing number of rabies fatalities in Negros Occidental.
PHO Nurse 2 Rafael Marmolejo, the rabies coordinator, reported yesterday that PHO recorded nine deaths due to suspected human rabies, and one confirmed rabies as of October 3, barely three months before the year ends, compared to four last year.
Marmolejo disclosed that the victims have showed symptoms of hydrophobia, or fear of water, and aerophobia, which indicates 80 percent rabies.
The latest fatality was a six-year old child in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
PHO also logged 14,232 animal bite cases in the province from January to Oct. 3 this year.
Marmolejo noted that most of the fatalities failed to seek immediate treatment upon being bitten and visited the animal bite centers only after they were already serious in condition. They also opted to avail of treatment locally known as “tandok” or traditional medicine, he added.
Majority of bites were perpetrated by dogs, Marmolejo added.
The proper treatment of animal bites, according to Marmolejo, is to wash the wound using running water and soap for 10 to 15 minutes. After washing the injuries, he advised the application of betadine on the wound and immediately go to the nearest animal bites center or health center to receive the rabies vaccine.
“Do not use cream or anything [else], indi pag pisgaon ang pilas, kag indi pag butangan ahos (don’t press the wound, and to refrain from using garlic),” Marmolejo said.
At present Negros Occidental has a total of 21 Animal Bite Treatment Centers, of which 16 are certified, while five are still on process.
Marmolejo also noted that they currently do not have any problems with rabies vaccines, as they constantly receive supplies from the Department of Health (DOH), the provincial government, with a counterpart coming from local government units.*