By Mary Judaline Partlow

PUPPIES FOR ADOPTION.  Puppies play inside a cage while waiting to be adopted in this undated photo. A young boy died of rabies on Wednesday (Jan. 24, 2024) in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, after he was bitten by a stray puppy in Pamplona town. (PNA file photo by Mary Judaline Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Health authorities in Negros Oriental are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a grade school boy who died on Wednesday after being bitten by a rabid dog last month.

Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Health Officer (PHO), denied claims that a hospital has refused to admit the boy, a 10-year-old from Barangay Inawasan, Pamplona town, after exhibiting symptoms of rabies.

Estacion said an initial report received by her office said that a stray puppy bit the boy on his left foot last December 22.

No medical treatment was made and the boy was brought instead to a “tandok” or folk doctor.

On Monday, the boy experienced shortness of breath, and pain in his genital area, chest, and leg.

Two days later, he showed fear of water, one of the common signs of rabies in a patient, and his family brought him to the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH).

She said the hospital did not turn them down but told them that his was a rabid case and could not be treated anymore.

“The hospital did not turn away the patient but suggested that he would be placed in an isolation room to prevent the spread of rabies and for public safety as rabid people tend to be aggressive,” she said.

According to the PHO chief, the family allegedly absconded and took the boy from the hospital isolation room to Barangay Bagacay where he died on Wednesday after the symptoms worsened.

He died at around 2 a.m. due to cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Pamplona and this capital city have undertaken contact tracing for persons who had come into close contact with the boy.

Dr. Ma. Sarah Talla, City Health Officer here, said they immediately gave prophylaxis treatment to the contacts and were told to have their repeat vaccines after the prescribed period.

Estacion said this is the first rabies case in Negros Oriental for this year as she urged dog owners to have their pets vaccinated against rabies. (PNA)