RITM Live brings focus on rabies and animal bites
RITM Animal Bite Treatment Center Head Dr. Mark Joseph S. Castellano discusses rabies and animal bite on the third episode of the RITM Live: Ask the Expert series

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, through its Communication and Engagement Office (CEO), wrapped up the Rabies Awareness Month with the third episode of RITM Live: Ask the Expert series.

RITM Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC) Head Dr. Mark Joseph S. Castellano headlined the episode broadcasted on March 31, shedding light on rabies and explaining what to do in the event of an animal bite.

Rabies is a fatal disease, with no known cure, that affects a person’s central nervous system. Globally, it is estimated that almost 60,000 human deaths occur every year because of the disease. Rabid and infected animals carry the virus and transmit it to humans through bites and scratches. 

If bitten by an animal, Dr. Castellano explained the importance of tending to the injury by washing it with clean water and soap, then applying iodine to the affected area. He then debunked the use and application of home remedies (garlic or guava leaves) and sucking out the blood from bitten areas as ineffective and unsafe methods that can lead to possible infections.

Rabies can only be prevented through vaccination when the patient exhibits no symptoms yet.

“Ang mga sintomas ng rabies tulad ng paglalaway, pagdedeliryo, pagkakaroon ng aerophobia (pagkatakot sa hangin), pagkakaroon ng hydrophobia (pagkatakot sa tubig), ay maaari nang mangahulugan na malapit nang mamatay ang pasyente dahil sa rabies,” said Dr. Castellano.

Dr. Castellano called on the viewers to proceed to the nearest animal bite center for anti-tetanus and anti-rabies vaccination in case of animal bites. More importantly, he urged fur parents to bring their pets to licensed veterinarians for their annual anti-rabies vaccination – the most effective method to control rabies.

The episode was in partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), a non-profit organization with a mission to eliminate deaths from canine rabies by 2030.

RITM Live: Ask the Expert series is an event aiming to make scientific information on tropical diseases more accessible to the public through direct interactions with RITM experts via Facebook Live broadcast.

Watch the episode replay here: RITM Live Episode 3

by Allenor Enciso, Communication and Engagement Office