ILOILO City – The Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO) is planning to declare five barangays in two northern Iloilo towns “rabies-free.”
These barangays include Dungon, Bagongon and Maliog-liog in Concepcion and Punta Buri and Tagubanjan in Ajuy.
Dr. Darel Tabuada, veterinarian IV of the PVO, said no rabies cases – both in humans and animals – were recorded in the villages for the past two years, a requirement for having the rabies-free status.
In Iloilo, nine areas have already been declared rabies-free. All of these are in Concepcion, PVO records showed.
These are barangays Tambaliza, Macatunao, Talotoan, and Botlog Daku located at Pan de Azucar Island and barangays Salvacion and Malangabang, Baliguian Island, Sombrero Island, and Sitio Bago-ise.
Tabuada said declaring an area rabies-free is a hard and long process.
There are criteria that need to be met, like the implementation of a school- and community-based information and education campaign on rabies, vaccination program on dogs, passing an ordinance that would promote responsible pet ownership, and the prohibition of dog entry without the owner securing a vaccination card.
If these are met, a barangay should then submit supporting documents to the Regional Rabies Control Council in the city.
The council is composed of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Department of Interior and Local Government.
According to Tabuada, having a rabies-free status is easier for island barangays.
“Mahapos sia nga i-declare kay ang island may boundary – may tubig. Unlike kon mainland like banwa puede sia matabok-tabok sang ido,” he said.
Dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths, contributing up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans, according to the World Health Organization.
Tabuada said they are also planning to declare two towns rabies-free by 2020.
The municipalities of Mina and Dumangas have high vaccination coverage in the past years. They have no rabies records in the past two years, too.
The PVO is also starting its anti-rabies campaign at the Gigantes Group of Islands in Carles./PN