ILOILO – Rabies killed a 37-year-old man from Barangay Bitaog Gaja, New Lucena town, the second rabies-related fatality this year.
He was bitten by a dog in March and consumed dog meat in February and April. He died on May 5, according to Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, head of the Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO).
The victim manifested flu-like symptoms on May 2 and was brought to the Western Visayas Sanitarium and General Hospital in Santa Barbara town for treatment.
Because he did not tell them he was bitten by a dog, doctors treated him as an out-patient for urinary tract infection.
The victim was allowed to go home on the night of May 2 but further fell ill and aerophobia and hydrophobia manifested. His mother took him to the Aleosan District Hospital in Alimodian town.
At the Aleosan District Hospital, the victim disclosed he was bitten by a dog in March and was fond of eating meat of stray dogs.
After the victim was bitten by a stray dog, his family and friends advised him to go to the Rural Health Unit or the nearest health facility to get vaccinated but he refused, added Quiñon.
Does cooked dog meat still have rabies?
“Puede gid, especially kon wala na-cook well or pagkatay may blood nagkadto sa mucus membranes ta kag puede gid sia makasulod sa aton system,” said Quiñon.
The IPHO head urged the public not to consume dog meat because of the risk of contracting rabies.
Meanwhile, the first human rabies death this year was a 28-year-old man from Igbaras town.
A stray dog bit his left index finger at the esplanade in Guimbal town late February, according to Quiñon.
Days after, the victim showed signs and symptoms of rabies. He was brought to the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City where he died a few days later in March.
Still, cases of rabies death in the province this year are lower compared to last year’s five from Balasan (two), Cabatuan (one), Estancia (one), and Lambunao (one).
Earlier, Quiñon expressed hope that rabies cases and deaths will not increase this year.
The Iloilo provincial government targets to be declared rabies-free by 2025 or 2026.
One of the criteria for declaring the province rabies-free is that there must be no rabies cases for the last three years.
This is also the reason why Quiñon is calling on pet owners to have their dogs vaccinated.
Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. allotted P8 million for 20,150 vials of vaccines distributed to 42 towns and Passi City this year.
It could cover 70 percent of the total dog population in the province or 215,000 heads of the 307,578 total population./PN