Bohol is Rabbies-Free in 2010

Freedom from the threat of rabies is the shout resounded by Anti-Rabies council members, a thing Bohol may be able to achieve this year if the right conditions are met.

One more year, says Provincial veterinarian Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, and if Bohol is pegs a high dog vaccination rate, it is most likely that we can be declared free from the threat of rabies this year and beyond.

Achieving the citation however does not come easy, Dr. Lapiz who heads the Bohol Rabies Prevention and Eradication Council (BRPEC) said.

Much of the success would come mostly from the Bantay Rabies sa Barangay (BRB) who are overseeing the registration and vaccination of dogs in their areas. And the continued active involvement of the local leaders would play major roles, Dr, Lapiz said.

BRB are community-based volunteers composed mostly of barangay officials whose main responsibility is to translate and execute the rabies program at the frontlines according to established implementing guidelines and the provisions of the existing national and provincial laws.

Rabies causes a serious brain infection, a virus that can be transmitted to man from canines mostly by animal bites, the virus travels to the central nervous system and when it gets there, this condition becomes fatal and is seldom treatable, medical practitioners admit.

Bohol, an emerging tourist destination and an island dreaming to be a haven for tourists is simply irreconcilable with rabies, Dr. Lapiz said adding that rabies and tourists are a dangerous combination.

Operating from a concept of sustainable program that is community-driven, the council members rolled their sleeves and organized municipal and barangay councils upon whose hands shall lie the fate of the rabies eradication program.

Using dog population control and vaccination coupled with neuterization programs as dog population management, the campaign to account dogs in Bohol soon started to roll.

"We have gone from a slow start and we have achieved quite a lot from the fact that Bohol once topped Central Visayas in the number of rabies cases," she said.

With the PVET at the forefront, BRPEC has already shown an excellent track record posting high dog registration and vaccination rates in the last two years.