SABLAN, Benguet – The municipal council recently approved a resolution that declared the whole municipality under state of emergency following the reported positive cases of rabid dogs that pose a serious threat to the health and safety of the residents in the different barangays.
Resolution No. 19-142 was passed to allow the local government to use a portion of the town’s quick response fund to purchase vaccines for both animals and humans and other necessary items needed in intensifying the rabies vaccination campaign to prevent the further increase of rabid animals in the different barangays that could result to the untimely death of people bitten by rabid animals.
Vice Mayor Arthur Baldo reported that there were 3 confirmed cases of rabid dogs at Barangay Poblacion as confirmed through laboratory tests spearheaded by the municipal agriculture office and the rural health unit which raised the concern among local officials on the need to implement the appropriate strategies to prevent the proliferation of rabid animals in the different parts of the municipality.
The vice mayor called for a special meeting on the said issue which was attended by agriculture personnel, health workers, some municipal councillors, and with the Barangay Chairman of Poblacion wherein strategies and policies were adopted to prevent the further spread of the rabies such as the mass vaccination of animals and the vaccination of individuals exposed to the 3 rabid dogs that were earlier confirmed.
Baldo claimed the local government immediately procured the rabies vaccines for dogs and cats, purchase of protective gadgets and gloves for vaccinators, purchase of dog collars and lace and the conduct of information and education campaign in the Poblacion and the remaining 7 barangays for residents to understand the present situation in the locality on the presence of rabies cases.
“In the exigency of the implementation of the mass vaccination, and to preserve the life of the individuals exposed to the rabies virus, there is a need to declare the municipality under a state of emergency to avail of the municipal disaster risk reduction and management fund, particularly the quick response fund to be utilized for the implementation of the approved strategies to prevent the spread of the virus to the barangays and other neighboring municipalities,” the resolution stated.
Baldo disclosed that of the 3 confirmed rabies cases in the municipality, there were 5 incidents of dog bits and 48 people were reportedly exposed to the rabid dogs that were immediately taken into custody by municipal agriculture workers wherein the presence of the rabies virus was confirmed by the Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory based in Dontogan, Baguio City.
He said that the municipal council also informed the nearby municipality of Burgos, La Union, Tuba, Benguet and Baguio City on the declaration of the state of emergency in the municipality for their information, guidance and appropriate action.
The local government was able to initially vaccine some 1,700 dogs and cats in barangay Poblacion during the conduct of the mass vaccination but more animals are expected to vaccinate in the said campaign.