March is Rabies Awareness Month

Rabies remains to be a public health problem in the country, accounting for 200 to 300 deaths each year. With the declaration of March as Rabies Awareness Month (Republic Act 1948), the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and various health institutions take part in raising people’s consciousness to the dangers of infectious viral diseases like rabies.

The Council is one of the many institutions promoting innovative ideas and research-based solutions to combat public health problems. PCHRD extends funding for researches on public health which are aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda (NHRDA)

NUHRA summarizes the health research and development directions and priorities of the country for a six-year period. These research priority areas are the following: Diagnostics, Tuklas lunas (Drug discovery and development), Functional foods, Hospital equipment and biomedical devices, Information and communication technology for health, Dengue and other arboviruses, Disaster risk reduction, Climate change adaptation, and Omic technologies for health.

Some of the rabies related projects and researches that were supported by the Council are “Canine Rabies Vaccination Outcome Monitoring and its Implication to Rabies Control and Prevention Program in Pampanga,” “Comparison of the Different Brain Collection Techniques and Evaluation of the Spinal Cord and Brain Tissues as Specimen for Rabies Diagnosis,” and “Bioluminescent Enzyme Immunoassay for the Rapid and Specific Detection of Rabies Virus.”

Most reported cases of rabies are caused by domestic pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The virus usually comes from their saliva but can also be transmitted into humans through biting and scratching. While there is a small amount of people who have survived rabies, it remains as a fatal disease.

As a reminder, PCHRD encourages individuals to practice responsible pet ownership by having your pets vaccinated by your veterinarian, keeping them safe whether inside or outside the house and reporting stray animals to local government authorities.