A Grave Public Health Concern
The Albay Provincial Health Office (PHO) is raising an urgent alarm, discouraging victims of animal bites from resorting to traditional or “quack” treatments for rabies.
This appeal comes after the grim toll of four rabies-related deaths reported from January to September this year, highlighting the dire consequences of this deadly viral infection.
Unconventional Methods Claim Lives
In a candid interview on Thursday, Jan Edmund Dominic Bailon, the chief of the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU), revealed a troubling pattern. All four victims tragically avoided seeking proper medical treatment at a hospital or animal bite center, with two of them opting for the unorthodox “tambal” method.
The Disturbing “Tambal” Approach
The questionable “tambal” cure involves the unsettling practice of making incisions and inserting small pieces of carabao horn into the wound, purportedly to “extract” rabies.
“The four death cases were from the municipalities of Guinobatan, Bacacay, Tabaco City, and Daraga. Lahat po hindi nagpa-vaccine (All of them were not vaccinated), both human and animal.”
He further clarified that these four cases were clinically diagnosed based on the observed signs and symptoms of rabies infection.
The Power of Vaccination
In response to this alarming trend, Bailon emphatically reinforced the importance of immediate vaccination as the best course of action for individuals bitten by animals.
“Still, vaccination remains the most effective safeguard. We have two dedicated animal bite clinics in the province offering free vaccination services. Additionally, the Municipal Agriculture Office extends free vaccination for dogs and cats,” he emphasized.
A Call for Public Awareness
Last month, the PHO launched a province-wide information campaign through barangay assemblies to raise public awareness about the critical importance of rabies vaccination in the event of an animal bite.
A Harrowing Past
It is crucial to note that in 2022, the Albay PHO documented two tragic deaths resulting from rabies in the municipalities of Tiwi and Manito. These painful incidents serve as poignant reminders of the life-threatening consequences of neglecting timely vaccination against this lethal scourge.