Tuesday, March 21, 2017
KALIBO, Aklan – Traditional treatment of animal bites may be cheap but they may aggravate the wounds and cause infections, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) stressed.
The PHO is once again campaigning against tandok as the province observes the Rabies Awareness Month.
Performed by traditional healers, tandok involves the use of an animal horn to extract the rabies virus from an animal bite patient.
Other forms of traditional animal bite treatment are rubbing garlic on the wounds and using black, porous stones.
Health officials are discouraging these practices.
Animal bite wounds must instead be washed thoroughly with soap and water, preferably for 10 to 15 minutes, said Provincial Health Officer Cornelio Cuachon Jr.
Apply alcohol or any antiseptic and bring the patient to the nearest animal bite treatment center, where patients with potential rabies exposure are evaluated and managed with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), Dr. Cuachon said.
Rabies, usually spread through animal bites, is one of the leading causes of deaths in Aklan, along with pneumonia and hypertension, said Cuachon.
Animal bite cases in the province last year reached 5,838, up 70 percent from 3,448 in 2015.
Aklan has seven facilities offering animal bite treatment: Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (provincial hospital), Saint Gabriel Medical Center, Panay Health Care Multipurpose Cooperative Hospital, Altavas District Hospital, Ibajay District Hospital, Municipal Health Office in Banga, and the PHO.
Government-operated facilities are open from Monday to Friday, except for the privately operated family vaccine and specialty clinic at the provincial hospital, which is open until Saturday morning. Treatment centers in private hospitals operate 24/7.
Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the saliva of the infected animal, which may either be dogs, cats and other domesticated animals, and wild animals, including bats.
Casual contact, such as touching or talking to a person with rabies, and contact with noninfectious fluid (blood or feces) do not constitute rabies exposure and do not require PEP. (Aklan Forum Journal/PN)