| He disclosed, in a media forum in Legazpi City recently,
that the surge in deaths due to rabies has made the Bicol region the number
one region in rabies deaths nationwide. This is so, according to him,
despite the existence of provincial, city and town ordinances, implementing
the rabies eradication program. Lucañas attributed the rise on
rabies cases to the poor implementation of the anti-rabies program by
local government units, particularly at the barangay level. "There
is a need for a strong political will to implement the rabies prevention
program in the community," said Lucañas.
He also noted the increasing presence of stray dogs in the community and
the absence of dog pounds in the provinces, cities and municipalities.
Lucañas pointed to another factor that contributed to the surge
of human deaths due to rabies: the expensive rabies vaccine that poor
families could not afford. DOH reports disclosed that 76 percent of the
fatalities due to rabies were not administered with at least one shot
of the anti-rabies vaccine after they were bitten by rabid dogs, while
only 7 percent were vaccinated but died just the same because of the severity
of the case.
The Bicol Regonal Rabies Inter-Agency Task Force estimates the dog population
in Bicol at around 395,139, of which some 69,345 or 38 percent were vaccinated
since January this year. The DOH reported that dog bites in Bicol numbered
3,201 cases, with Camarines Sur accounting for 1,482 cases; Albay with
982 cases; Camarines Norte with 393 cases; Catanduanes with 153; Sorsogon,
109 cases; and Masbate with 50 dog bite cases.