Source: Borneo Post
KUCHING (Aug 15): Kampung Narum in Marudi, Miri has been declared as a new rabies infected area after a stray dog was confirmed as rabies positive on Aug 2, said Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.
The Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Minister said since 2017, a total of 73 rabies infected areas had been declared in the state.
“This year, the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) has tested 392 samples and found 73 dogs and five cats to be positive for rabies.
“Animal rabies were detected in Lundu (3), Bau (2), Kuching (31) , Padawan (18) , Kota Samarahan (5) , Siburan (1) , Serian (1), Tebekang (4), Sibu (1), Selangau (1), Mukah (1), Bintulu (2), Marudi (1) and Lawas (1),” he said in a statement today.
In view of the increased number in rabies cases, Dr Rundi said DVSS has intensified the anti-rabies vaccination programme throughout the state where concentrations are mainly in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri divisions.
He also said that the department will further intensify the programme, including a mass vaccination exercise which will be held on Aug 19 and 20 at Tempat Letak Kereta Taman Awam Miri from 9am to 4pm.
He said DVSS and the Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) have set a target of 40,000 heads of dogs to be vaccinated across Sarawak in 2023 and to date, they have successfully vaccinated 27,668 dogs.
Sarawak had recorded 13 deaths from 15 rabies cases this year, according to the State Health Department.
Since 2017, the cumulative total human rabies cases now stands at 70, with 63 deaths.
Dr Rundi said Sarawak is currently experiencing a rise in rabies cases for both human and animals.
“Owners who let their dogs roam freely on the streets shall also be liable to a fine not exceeding RM2,500 under Section 37 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance (VPHO), 1999.
“Dog owners must keep their dogs under effective control by confining it within an enclosed area from which it is impossible for the dog to escape,” he said.
He added that local authorities may seize and impound any dogs not on a leash in accordance with the Local Authorities (Dog Licensing and Control) by-laws, 2018.