Every year on September 28th, World Rabies Day is commemorated to promote awareness about the impact of the virus disease and how to prevent it. This day is also honored around the world to commemorate the death anniversary of Louis Pasteur, a French biologist, microbiologist, and chemist who created the first rabies vaccines.
The topic for this year’s World Rabies Day is “Rabies: Facts, Not Fear.” Many uncertainties and misconceptions about diseases, their propagation, and immunization have arisen as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Because no medicine is known to counteract the worsening of patients once evidence of central nervous system involvement are present, it is critical to report and handle animal bite cases as soon as possible to avoid them from escalating to an irreversible symptomatic phase.
Animal bite management is currently difficult to come by, especially in rural areas of our country. The Department of Health, in partnership with the Local Government Unit and business sector partners, established the Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC), which will be managed by a physician and nurse, as part of the National Rabies Control and Prevention program. All types of suspected rabid animal exposure, such as licks, abrasions (with or without bleeding), laceration, puncture, and aerosolized saliva exposure, are expected to be treated by the ABTCs, including post-exposure prophylaxis.
The Republic Act 9482, also known as the anti-Rabies Act of 2007, ensures that the fight against rabies continues, and the Rabies prevention and control program is determined to expand the program’s services delivery. However, rabies prevention begins with providing education and information on proper animal handling to pet owners and the community.