BACOLOD CITY – Dogs and cats are widely considered as pets in Philippine culture.
Some people consider them food.
The cultural aspect is not the point of this story.
Yesterday, DNX readers reacted and commented on a photo shared by lawyer Jayvee Hinlo that showed stray dogs lounging on a street in one of the subdivisions in Bacolod City.
Hinlo also asked if local governments and the interior and local government department are implementing the law on rabies.
DNX did a research on the pertinent laws in the Philippines that seeks to prevent the spread of the virus that often leads to fatal outcomes for those who are infected by it.
First. Is it pronounced as rah-bees or rei-biz?
The Macmillan Dictionary says on its website it is pronounced as rei-biz, which the Online Etymology Dictionary traces to the 16th century Latin word “rabere” that means “be mad, rave.”
Second. Does it have a cure?
The government’s Research Institute for Tropical Medicine says it has none.
The RITM, quoting the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, said it is the “deadliest disease on Earth.”
“Once a person is bitten by a rabid animal and the victim was not vaccinated, the rabies virus will travel from the site of the bite to the victim’s brain,” the RITM pointed out.
The grim warning: “As it reaches the human nervous system, it becomes 100 percent fatal.”
The RITM, in its RITM Update published on its website in 2014, said rabies continues to be a “prevalent public health threat in the Philippines that is ranked among the highest in the world in terms of rabies prevalence.
It quoted health department data that shows around 200 to 300 Filipinos die every year because of the virus.
In 2007, government passed the Anti-Rabies Act or Republic Act 9482 that calls for the control and elimination of human and animal rabies.
This law led to the creation of the National Rabies Prevention and Control Program, a multi-sectoral agency that sought to eliminate rabies by 2016 and declare a rabies-free Philippines by this year.
RITM reported that since the Program’s launch, deaths due to rabies have dropped slowly from 257 cases in 2010 to 187 in 2013. Too, human rabies cases went down by 27 percent from 2010 to 2013.