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Rabies is a viral infection of animals that can be transmitted to humans. It is caused by a virus of
the Rhabdoviridae family, which attacks the central nervous system. The virus is usually
excreted in the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is almost fatal once symptoms or signs
appear.

  



Rabies can affect in any warm blooded animal (domestic and wild). In the Philippines, rabies has
been transmitted to humans from the bites of dogs (98%) and cats (2%).

The virus is usually transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, most often by a bite or
scratch or licks on broken skin or mucous membrane, such as the eyes, nose or mouth. In very
rare cases, person to person transmission has occured when saliva droplets were dispersed in the
air.

 

  
 


1. Unusual restlessness
2. Fever
3. Dilatation of pupils
4. Watchful apprehensive look
5. Biting at inanimate objects
6. Aimless running and unprovoked agressiveness
7. Dificulty of swallowing followed by a change in the bark or howling sounds of animals

 

    


1. Fever
2. Anorexia
3. Nausea & vomiting
4. Headache
5. Pain or paresthesia at site bite
6. Signs of nervous system dysfunction as hyperactivity, disorientation, hallucination, seizures &
paralysis

     
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1. When exposed or bitten by an animal (rabid or not), wash & flush the wound thoroughly with
soap and water then seek medical attention for possible post esposure vaccination and wound
care immediately.
2. Then consult a veterinarian or trained personnel to observe your pet for 14 days for signs of
rabies.
3. Be a Responsible Pet Owner by having your dog vaccinated for anti-rabies. Dog Control
(leashing or confinement in the house).
4. Consult for Rabies Diagnosis & Surveilance of the area.
5. Mobilize for Community Participation.

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* Who Can Help Us?

Everybody in the community.

Networking with all possible members within the community who can have an active
involvement in the Rabies prevention and control program in the area.

These include:

* government institutions
* non-government institutions
* civic and religious organizations
* schools (private and public)
* local government officials
* media
* others (volunteers)

 
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March is Rabies Awareness Month and September 28 is World Rabies
Day!

Rabies is 100% fatal viral disease affecting the nervous system of


humans and animals. It remains a serious public health problem in the
country which causes the death of between 200 - 500 Filipinos annually, and the Philippines
ranked No. 6 among the countries with the highest incidence of rabies in the world. A three-
pronged approach ± dog immunization, responsible pet ownership and dog-bite victim
immunization ± is still recommended for all government units to control rabies in their areas of
responsibility.

The rabies prevention and control program received its needed boost when President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo signed into law the Republic Act No. 9482 (An Act Providing for the Control and Elimination of
Human and Animal Rabies, Prescribing Penalties for Violation Thereof and Appropriating Funds
Therefore) on May 27, 2007. This next three years, the Department of Health, Department of
Agriculture ʹ Bureau of Animal Industry, local government units and partner agencies will advocate for
the full implementation of the law nationwide. The battlecry is ͞SUMUNOD SA BATAS RABIES͟.
Meanwhile, the said agencies are also gearing up their efforts towards the goal of declaring the
Philippines as Rabies-Free by the 2020.

 

Although rabies is not among the leading causes of disease and death in the country it has
become a public health problem of significance for two reasons: it is one of the most acutely
fatal infections which causes the death of between 200-500 Filipinos annually, and the
Philippines ranked number six among the countries with the highest reported incidence of rabies
in the world.

Dogs remain the principal animal source of rabies. Although a great majority of animal bites are
non-infected with the rabies virus, animal control and other public health measures are
undertaken because of the high case fatality rate for rabies. It is hard to make a definite early
diagnosis of rabies, and the disease almost always leads to death even when vaccination and
medical management are given as soon as the symptoms have set in. Further, the cost of post-
exposure vaccination against rabies can be prohibitive. There is yet no way of immediately
segregating those who had acquired rabies infection from those who had been bitten by non-
rabid sources. Thus, all efforts should be made to contain rabies at its source, with universal
immunization of dogs and responsible pet ownership as major preventive measures.

Source: National Objectives for Health, Philippines, 2005-2001, Department of Health, Manila,
Philippines.

 
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Community Oragninzing Against Rabies, Responsible Pet Ownership for Rabis Free Philippines

 


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R Rabies is widely distributed across the globe. More than 55 000 people die of rabies each year.
About 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa.
R Most human deaths follow a bite from an infected dog. Between 30% to 60% of the victims of
dog bites are children under the age of 15.
R Êound cleansing and immunizations, done as soon as possible after suspect contact with an
animal and following ÊHO recommendations, can prevent the onset of rabies in virtually 100%
of exposures.
R Once the signs and symptoms of rabies start to appear, there is no treatment and the disease is
almost always fatal.
R Globally, the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating rabies
in dogs through animal vaccinations.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted to humans from animals) that is caused
by a virus. Rabies infects domestic and wild animals, and is spread to people through close
contact with infected saliva (via bites or scratches). The disease is present on nearly every
continent of the world but most human deaths occur in Asia and Africa (more than 95%). Once
symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is fatal.

Related links
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:: More on rabies
The first symptoms of rabies are flu-like, including fever,
headache and fatigue, and then progress to involve the :: WHO Expert Consultation
respiratory, gastrointestinal and/or central nervous systems. In the on Rabies: first report, 2005
critical stage, signs of hyperactivity (furious rabies) or paralysis [pdf 514kb]
(dumb rabies) dominate. In both furious and dumb rabies, some
paralysis eventually progresses to complete paralysis, followed
by coma and death in all cases, usually due to breathing failure. Without intensive care, death
occurs during the first seven days of illness.

 


Dogs continue to be the main carrier of rabies in Africa and Asia and are responsible for most of
the human rabies deaths worldwide. Humans most often become infected with rabies through the
bite or scratch of an infected dog or cat.

In developed countries rabies continues mainly in wild animals. The disease is transmitted to
domestic animals and humans through exposure to infected saliva. In the past few years, bat
rabies has emerged as a public health problem in the Americas and Europe. For the first time in
2003, more people in South America died from rabies following exposure to wildlife,
particularly bats, than from dogs.

Human rabies deaths following exposure to wild foxes, raccoons, skunks, jackals and wolves are
very rare. Livestock, horses and deer can become infected with rabies, but although they could
transmit the virus to other animals or people, this rarely occurs.
Ê

 

People most at risk of rabies live in rural areas of Africa and Asia. An estimated 31 000 people
die from dog rabies in Asia each year. In Africa the annual death toll is 24 000. Dog rabies is
responsible for more than 14 million courses of post-exposure treatment to prevent the onset of
disease. The economic burden of rabies in the developing world also takes a large toll. The
average cost of rabies immunizations after a suspicious animal bite is US$ 40 in Africa, and US$
49 in Asia. This post-exposure treatment is a major financial burden for most households in these
countries, where the average wage is about US$ 1 to US$ 2 per day, per person.

Poor people, especially children, are at highest risk of dog rabies. About 30% to 60% of the
victims of dog bites (the primary mode of virus transmission) are children less than 15 years of
age. Children often play with animals and are less likely to report bites or scratches.

In areas known for rabies, professionals with frequent exposure to animals (e.g. veterinarians), or
who spend a lot of time outdoors (e.g. wildlife specialists or researchers), particularly in rural
areas, should be vaccinated preventively. This also applies to travelers and hikers who visit areas
where bats are commonly found.

   
 

Wound cleansing and immunizations, done as soon as possible after suspect contact with an
animal and following WHO recommendations, can prevent the onset of rabies in virtually 100%
of exposures. Recommended treatment to prevent rabies depends on the category of the contact:

R Category I: touching or feeding suspect animals, but skin is intact


R Category II: minor scratches without bleeding from contact, or licks on broken skin
R Category III: one or more bites, scratches, licks on broken skin, or other contact that breaks the
skin; or exposure to bats

Post-exposure care to prevent rabies includes cleaning and disinfecting a wound, or point of
contact, and then administering anti-rabies immunizations as soon as possible. Anti-rabies
vaccine is given for Category II and III exposures. Anti-rabies immunoglobin, or antibody,
should be given for Category III contact, or to people with weaker immune systems.

When humans are exposed to suspect animals, attempts to identify, capture or humanely sacrifice
the animal involved should be undertaken immediately. Post-exposure treatment should start
right away and only be stopped if the animal is a dog or cat and remains healthy after 10 days.
Animals that are sacrificed or have died should be tested for the virus, with results sent to
responsible veterinary services and public health officials so that the situation in the area is well
documented.

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The WHO guide on preventive immunizations against rabies is aimed to ensure that effective and
potent treatment is provided, even where vaccines are in very short supply - as is the case in
many developing countries. Alternative, more economical vaccination approaches have been
successful in developing countries where funding for vaccines and vaccine supplies are limited.
Health staff must be well trained in techniques and vaccines must be stored appropriately for
effectiveness.

Rabies immunoglobulin (antibody) vaccines - which are recommended for use in Category III
cases and for exposures in immunosuppressed people - are expensive and can be in short supply
or non-existent in most developing countries. Purified equine (horse) rabies immunoglobulin
provide at least a partial solution to current problems of insufficient quantities and the high cost
of human immunoglobulin in developing countries.

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Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent rabies in animals, and in humans before and
after suspected exposures. Vaccination of domestic animals (mostly dogs) and wildlife (such as
foxes and raccoons) has led to reduced disease in several developed and developing countries.
However, recent increases in human rabies deaths in South America and parts of Africa and Asia
evidence that rabies is re-emerging as a serious public health issue.

The most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people is by eliminating rabies in dogs
through animal vaccinations. A lack of awareness of the effectiveness and feasibility of this
prevention approach hinders elimination of human cases. As shown in several countries - such as
Japan and Malaysia - elimination of rabies in dogs can result in elimination of transmissions to
people and other animals. Preventing human rabies through control of domestic dog rabies is a
realistic goal for large parts of Africa and Asia.

Prevention of human rabies must be a community effort involving both veterinary and public
health services. Rabies elimination efforts that focus on mass vaccinations of dogs are financially
justified by the future savings of discontinuing post-exposure preventive treatment for people.