The dog that bit several people in Mandaue City in Cebu last week has tested positive for rabies, officials said.
The Mandaue City Veterinary Office said Wednesday the dog was rabid and that the number of victims has reached 22.
The dog, which was described as panting and drooling, died on the same day it bit several people in Barangays Casuntingan and Banilad in Mandaue.
Mandaue City Veterinarian Dr. Nestor Taasan also said they have undertaken contact-tracing to determine if other people may be at risk for rabies as the rabid dog also bit other dogs in the area.
Casuntingan Barangay Captain Oscar Del Castillo said almost all of the bite victims have been given medical treatment, but they are still looking for one bite victim who has yet to be vaccinated. Del Castillo also said that most of the dogs in their area have already been vaccinated against rabies.
The City Health Office also said it will shoulder the cost of the anti-rabies vaccine and will monitor the bite victims for one month.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths due to rabies in the Philippines slightly rose last year compared to 2015, authorities said.
According to the San Lazaro Hospital Animal Bite Center, there were 63 deaths due to rabies last year compared to 61 in 2015.
The hospital also said there was a significant rise in the number of people bitten by animals last year. The hospital said there were 128,453 animal bite victims reported in 2016 compared to 117,614 in 2015.
Doctors advise people who were bitten by animals to immediately wash the wound with soap or detergent, and disinfect it with iodine or alcohol.
Bite victims should also go to the doctor or an animal bite clinic as soon as possible.
The animal which caused the bite meanwhile needs to be isolated and observed for up to two weeks. Experts advise against killing the animal. But if the animal died during observation, experts advise the owner of the animal to seek a veterinarian's help in sending a specimen sample to to an accredited laboratory like the San Lazaro Hospital.
Experts also advise pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against rabies.
Island Rescue Organization, an animal welfare group, is blaming irresponsible pet owners for animal bites and rabies cases.
Pet owners whose pets have bitten people are also obliged to pay for the medical treatment of the victims or risk being fined up to 25,000 pesos.
-- with reports from Joworski Alipon and Kori Quintos, ABS-CBN News