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DA Bicol Taps Albay Teachers in Stepping Up Rabies Information Drive

EVENTSSep 30 2016342Ariel Belen

More than 50 elementary teachers representing different municipalities in Albay with confirmed cases of animal and human rabies since 2010 were tapped by the Department of Agriculture, Bicol to spread rabies awareness among parents and young students.

The Rabies Awareness Symposium for Teachers in Albay was recently conducted by the DA together with the provincial government of Albay at Ysabelle’s Restaurant, Legazpi City with the theme “Educate, Vaccinate, Eliminate”.

Dr. Rona Bernales, chief of the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory of DA, Bicol said that although rabies education was integrated in the school curriculum in Bicol which is also a first in the whole country, there are still rabies cases with a number of victims among children.

Dr. Maria Glofezita Lagayan, Veterinarian of the DA-Bureau of Animal Industry, said that this activity is crucial in spreading awareness since the teachers have a strong influence on their students and thus, use these students in educating their parents. Lagayan said that rabies can be transmitted through saliva, tears and sweat. In 2015, there were 26 animal rabies cases and 24 human cases in Bicol. This year, 12 animal rabies cases were recorded as of September 9. She added that “every ten minutes, there are human deaths caused by rabies especially children in developing countries worldwide.”

Albay Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Florencio Adonay cited that in Albay, more than 86,000 dogs were vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccines in over 700 barangays. But in 2015, five rabies cases were recorded along with two cases this year. He noted that rabies is 100% preventable if only dog owners are aware and the rabies prevention programs of the government are strictly implemented.

Marlou Guiriba of Camalig North Central School, one of the teacher-participants in the said symposium, admitted that it was only through the internet that she learned some information on rabies. She furthered that in their school, there are more cats than dogs roaming around. One of her students in Grade 4 class was even bitten by a cat last August and was rushed to the animal bite center of the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital.

Tagaytay Elementary School Head Aquilles V. Chavez of Malinao, also one of the participants, said that in 2012 they had Rabies Information Drive especially on Republic Act 9482 or the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007. However, there are still stray dogs roaming around the community especially in his school further citing the barangay officials for not being strict in the implementation of the law and for lack of awareness.

Among the topics discussed during the symposium are Animal and Human Rabies Situations; Information on Rabies, Virus, Clinical Signs and Symptoms; How to avoid dog bites and proper wound bite management; Education in Schools, Five Freedoms of Animals/Responsible Pet Ownership; and Frequently Asked Questions on Rabies.
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