The health department of the Philippines reported 264 human rabies cases between January and 23 October this year.
Of these, 206 died due to the virus that is transmitted by the infected saliva of animals, especially dogs, through bites or licking of open wounds.
Health officials say that it is during school vacation time that cases of rabies are on the rise because children play with the unvaccinated animals. With the Christmas vacation coming, health officials are alarmed of the possible surge in the number of cases.
For this year, the following areas had the highest reported cases of rabies: Region IV-A (49); Region III (36); Region V (29); and Metro Manila (20), 16 of whom succumbed.
Human rabies is a deadly disease and over 99 percent of people who develop the symptoms of the disease die.
The symptoms of human rabies are trivial such as fever, cough or sore throat, pain, burning of itching sensation at the site of the bite, abdominal pain, and anxiety and agitation.
Later, symptoms become more distinctive such as hallucinations, delirium, fear of water (hydrophobia), fear of air (aerophobia), muscle spasms in the face and neck, seizures, paralysis, coma, heart and respiratory failure.
The disease is also preventable through adequate vaccination of warm-blooded animal pets like dogs, cats, and monkeys.
Bats, elephants, rabbits, rats, and horses may harbor the rabies virus, too. Birds, chickens, fishes, and reptiles cannot transmit the disease.
Once bitten, it is strongly advised that the bite wound be thoroughly washed with soap and running water for 15 minutes. Immediately go to the doctor for medical advice.
Do not kill the offending animal. Capture the animal and observe for 10 to 15 days for behavioral changes. Ask a veterinarian or any authorities for further action toward the animal.
In 2008, the 10 countries with highest human deaths due to rabies are:
Some of the countries that have successfully eradicated rabies are Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.