DESPITE the summer season still weeks ahead, rabies cases in the country are already higher in 2023 when compared to the first five weeks last year.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that there are already 33 rabies cases from January 1 to February 4, 2023.

This is 38 percent higher compared to the 24 rabies cases during the same period in 2022.

Having the highest number of rabies cases are Central Luzon with six, Calabarzon with five, and Bicol Region and Davao Region with four each.

Davao Region has seen the highest increase at 300 percent (from 1 to 4), followed by Eastern Visayas at 200 percent (from 1 to 3).

The DOH said that similar to last year (24), all rabies patients have died (33) this year.

Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is known to be 100 percent fatal.

Rabies is a disease transmitted through animal bites or wound contamination by animal saliva containing the virus.

Its symptoms include headache, fever, muscle spasms, paralysis and hydrophobia.

Rabies cases are known to rise during the summer season as dogs and other animals are believed to be easily ruffled by the hot weather. (SunStar Philippines)