DVSS director: Large number of free-roaming dogs challenge in rabies eradication efforts in S’wak

Posted on 21 May 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post
Source: The Borneo Post

KUCHING (May 21): The large number of free-roaming dogs poses a challenge to the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) in efforts to eradicate rabies, said its director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.
He said the department had so far vaccinated 230,000 dogs with anti-rabies vaccine since the outbreak in Sarawak in 2017, but educating the public on responsible pet ownership is still a big challenge. “Prevention of animal bites is an important aspect in preventing the spread of rabies. Our department receives not less than 250 bite cases every month. From January to April (this year) a total 1,200 bite cases were received from both unprovoked and provoked types.
“That is why it is important to remind our friends, family and neighbours on responsible pet ownership to prevent such incidents from happening,” he said at the DVSS Rabies Awareness and Department of Agriculture AgriCOP programme held at Kampung Semeba yesterday.
The event, held in conjunction with ‘Rami Gawia Semeba’ (Semeba Gawai Celebrations), was launched by Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang who represented Food Industries, Commodities and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom. It was announced that Dr Rundi and his deputies Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail and Martin Ben had contributed financial allocations to make the event possible.
Dr Adrian said that the increase in rabies cases in the state recently had caused panic among the public, and he reminded everyone that “it incurs a lot of cost to treat rabies because it involves lives”. He also mentioned that since the rabies outbreak which started from Serian in 2017, there were already 59 people who lost their lives out of 66 human cases.
According to him again, other Asean countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines are also recording rabies cases and casualties. “This clearly shows immediate action must be taken and cooperation from all sectors of the society must continue to combat rabies,” he said. Dr Adrian expressed his appreciation to the Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) under the Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit (UPKS) which has vaccinated almost 50,000 animals near the Sarawak – Kalimantan border to produce this immune belt against rabies.
He also informed pet owners in Semeba and surrounding villages to be responsible and ensure the animals are vaccinated against rabies because there were samples from 11 dogs there within a 10km radius tested positive for rabies. Meanwhile, Lo in his speech said rabies is a deadly infectious disease, and is still a serious threat to animals and humans around the world, not just in Sarawak. “Responsible dog owners should always supervise the movement of their dogs so that they do not roam freely in public places, and ensure that (owners of) pet dogs obtain a license from the local authorities and (their pets) are vaccinated with anti-rabies vaccine every year.
“If we are exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies, we should wash the wound under running water and soap for at least 15 minutes and immediately seek treatment at a nearby clinic or hospital. This is the first step in treatment to prevent rabies. Therefore, it is very important for us to understand and take appropriate preventive measures,” he said.
Meanwhile, also held concurrently with the rabies awareness and mass vaccination was the promotion of AgriCOP program under the Sarawak Department of Agriculture.
Lo said the AgriCOP program was introduced and implemented in 2020 to enable target groups to be exposed to the latest agricultural technology through lectures, exhibitions and also agricultural models and demonstrations.
With Semeba and surrounding villages located near Kuching city, he said the village folks can consider joining the AgriCOP programme to start or increase their farming activities and earn extra income.
Also present at the event were Ministry of Food Industries, Commodities and Regional Development’s permanent secretary Sirai Daha, Department of Agriculture deputy director Ronald Ripid, Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Tan Kai and Kuching Division Bidayuh Temenggong Dato Austin Dimin.


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Last Updated On 13 Sep 2023

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