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Rabies-free city remains a major challenge, says researcher

Wiping out rabies cases in Davao City remains a challenge due to irresponsible owners and unregulated migration of dogs to the city.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in collaboration with UP Mindanao, Davao Medical School Foundation, City Veterinarian’s Office and the City Health Office are currently finishing a study entitled “STOP Rabies: Synoptic Study on Transmission and Optimum Control to Prevent Rabies.”

This is in response to the Zero by 30 goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims “zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030, worldwide.”

The Philippines, on the other hand, had a 10-year advanced goal which is to achieve zero rabies cases by 2020.

“We want to study first in Davao City if it’s possible to wipe out rabies cases because if it’s possible to wipe out rabies cases here in the city then it’s possible to wipe out all rabies cases in the Philippines,” Zython Paul Lachica, assistant researcher from UP Mindanao, said on Friday.

According to Lachica, Bohol is one of the provinces that is already rabies-free. However, the topographical characteristics of Bohol as an island-province give it an advantage.

“It is a challenge in Davao City because we are connected to other municipalities. At least tourists are well-regulated but it’s not like that for animals,” Lachica said.

In 2017, the city recorded the highest number of cases of deaths with 21 in total. In 2016, 15 cases were recorded while 12 in 2015.

Lachica also assured that rabies is not yet epidemic in the city, which made them more positive to eliminate it before 2030.

In the data stated by Lachica, there were already at least 20,000 vaccinated dogs in the city. However, they are unable to monitor the remaining unvaccinated dogs because of the difficulty to document the exact proportion of the total canine population.





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