BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar,(PIA) – Rabies has already claimed four lives this year, says reports from the provincial health office in Eastern Samar.

The same report also tells that there were zero death in 2011 and 2012 buth there were three deaths in 2013.

For the World Health Organization only one death from rabies per million is acceptable.

“The province’s population is only 448, 180 as of 2014, so four deaths is very alarming,” Edna Tumandao, provincial rabies coordinator for the human side, said.

All twenty-three towns in the province have their own municipal rabies control coordinating councils; some have even organized councils in the barangay level.

The provincial health office also ensures that treatment for rabies is always available in animal bite centers located in government-run hospitals.

In 2011, the provincial board passed an ordinance adopting the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007.

Dr. Norma Ylanan, provincial rabies coordinator for the animal side reported that all year-round, the provincial veterinary services office distributes vaccines for dogs to the towns, trains vaccinators, and provides pre-exposure shots to workers who are at high-risk of getting rabies.

Ylanan added that vaccines for the dogs areprocured by the provincial government with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, “but not all dog-owners submit their dogs for the shots.”

With only four months to go before the year ends, only four out of twenty-three towns have hit the target of immunizing at least 70% of its total dog population.

“We’re really aggressive on this campaign because if at least 70% of our dogs are immune from rabies, we would have very little to worry about,” Ylanan said.

“To address this, we’re conducting a joint consultative meeting and planning workshop for municipal health officers, municipal agriculturists and livestock coordinators, among others,” Tumandao said.

The three-day workshop is scheduled to start on August 19, 2014. (AJC/Medora Quirante/PIA8 E. Samar)