Executive Order No.84, series of 1999 declares the month of March every year as Rabies Awareness Month. Rabies is a human infection that occurs after a transdermal bite or scratch by an infected animal, like dogs and cats. It can be transmitted when infectious material, usually saliva, comes into direct contact with a victim’s fresh skin lesions. Rabies may also occur, though in very rare cases, through inhalation of virus-containing spray or through organ transplants.
Rabies is considered to be a neglected disease, which is 100% fatal though 100% preventable. It is not among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the country but it is regarded as a significant public health problem because (1) it is one of the most acutely fatal infection and (2) it is responsible for the death of 200-300 Filipinos annually.
Rabies awareness and advocacy campaign is a year round activity highlighted on 2 occasions: March – the Rabies awareness month and September 28 – World Rabies Day. The campaign focuses on three target audiences;?pet owners?– to have their dog/s registered and vaccinated; animal bite victims- to practice immediate washing of bites with soap and water for at least 10 minutes and receive appropriate Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)if need from trained health workers and not from traditional healers; and lastly Legislators, Local Chief Executives (LCEs), NGO’s Pos and other stakeholders to implement (LCEs) and support a comprehensive rabies prevention and control program.