300 Philippine people die each year from rabies disease

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-06 16:13:03|Editor: xuxin
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MANILA, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Up to 300 Philippine people die from rabies disease each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), prompting the Philippines to launch an anti-rabies campaign this month.

In celebration of rabies awareness month, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) of the Philippines have renewed their commitment on Tuesday to end the rabies disease through a campaign to increase awareness about rabies prevention.

Rabies continues to be a public health problem in the Philippines, the WHO and the DOH said, adding the Philippines is one of the top 10 countries in the world with rabies problem.

The WHO said the disease is responsible for the deaths of 200 to 300 Philippine people per year.

"Prevention is key in eliminating the rabies disease. Ninety-nine percent of all rabies transmissions to humans are from dogs," Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a recent statement.

"Be a responsible pet owner and vaccinate your pets. This is the most cost-effective strategy to prevent rabies," he added.

Duque said the partnership with DA, Department of Interior and Local Government, local government units and the private sector, aims to strengthen the prevention campaign to avoid unnecessary deaths due to rabies.

The campaign focuses on responsible pet ownership and vaccine availability at established Animal Bite Treatment Centers.

Duque said he hopes to "declare the Philippines a rabies-free country by 2030."

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that is almost always fatal following the onset of clinical symptoms.

In up to 99 percent of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for rabies virus transmission to humans.

Yet, rabies can affect both domestic and wild animals. It is spread to people through bites or scratches, usually via saliva.

At least one-third of deaths due to human rabies are among children less than 15 years old, according to WHO data.

The WHO noted that animal bite cases have been increasing for the past five years. Dogs remain the principal cause of animal bites and rabies cases, it said.