‘Watch out for stray animals’
Mandaue City residents were told to report the presence of any stray animals in their areas to their barangay officials to determine if they are rabid and pose any health risk to their communities.
“The City Veterinary Office cannot predict the presence of suspected rabid animals in a barangay. What we need is more vigilance by the public to report cases of rabies or anytime a dog or a cat is (being a) nuisance,” Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing said.
The mayor told reporters in yesterday’s press conference that the City Veterinary Office cannot pick up every stray animal that they see “since not all of them are rabid.”
Last Saturday, 18 persons in Barangay Casuntingan and four others in Barangay Banilad were bitten by a rabid stray dog owned by Webster Seno, a resident of Sitio Mangga in Casuntingan.
The victims sustained bite wounds on their legs and thighs.
At dawn last Sunday, the police captured the dog but it died later at 4 a.m.
Mandaue City Health Officer Edna Seno said all 22 persons were safe and were taking anti-rabies vaccine starting yesterday.
“There is no imminent danger of them transmitting it (virus) to other residents,” Seno told reporters.
While undergoing the treatment, the victims were advised not to drink any liquor for 28 days.
The City Veterinary Office sent the dog’s severed head for examination at a lab in Tacloban, Leyte.
The results will be released within the week, Seno said.
For their part, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) advised the public to avoid rubbing garlic, vinegar and other home remedies on animal bite marks.
Nurse Mabel Amarga of the PHO’s Animal Bite Treatment Division said the first step is to wash the bite wound with soap and water for 10-15 minutes.
Applying garlic and vinegar can only aggravate the infection, she said.
Amarga said bite victims should immediately proceed to the barangay health center where they can be referred to a doctor before being directed to the PHO Animal Bite Treatment Center.
Amarga said the dog or cat will be kept under observation for 10-14 days while the bite victim will undergo a three-course vaccine provided for free by the Animal Bite Treatment Center.
In case the animal dies within the observation period, the bite victim will be administered the vaccine on the 30th day after he or she was bitten.
If the animal lives, the patient can forego the vaccine.
Of the 16 district and provincial hospitals in Cebu, only Pinamungahan town has no animal bite treatment center.
Last year, Amarga said 24,302 bite cases were recorded in the province and five of them ended in deaths.
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