Source: The Borneo Post, Sarawak
KUCHING (May 12): Pedaan, Baram in Telang Usan and Tatau bazaar in BIntulu have been declared as the latest two rabies infected areas in Sarawak. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this means there are now a total of 69 rabies-infected areas since the outbreak started in 2017.
He explained the declaration of the two new infected areas was done after two stray dogs were tested positive for rabies in the respective areas. He pointed out the stray dogs were caught and tested following an active surveillance carried out at the areas, and the samples were sent for laboratory testing.
“Since both these areas are located outside the 10km radius that had been declared a rabies infected area, they are therefore now the 68th and 69th rabies infected area in Sarawak,” he said in a statement.
The 69 rabies-infected areas at present are namely in Kuching with seven, Samarahan (4), Serian (22), Sri Aman (6), Betong (3), Sarikei (5), Sibu (2), Kapit (1), Mukah (6), Bintulu (5), Miri (7) and Limbang (1).
Uggah, who is also Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman, advised dog owners to ensure that their dogs are given an anti-rabies vaccination every year at any Veterinary Office or private veterinary clinic. He said failure to do so would violate Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, where a fine not exceeding RM2,500 will be imposed and the dog caught without proof of anti-rabies vaccination can be sent for targeted removal.
“The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak wishes to remind the public that it is an offence under Section 37 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to allow their dogs to roam freely, and to bring their pet dogs outside of rabies infected areas without a written permit from the Sarawak Veterinary Authority. Upon conviction, an individual can be fined not more than RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both,” he said.
Uggah also reminded pet owners to neuter their pet dogs or cats to control their population. He also advised pet owners to keep their pets from mixing with stray animals, and recognise the signs and symptoms of rabies. The symptoms are a sudden change in behaviour, sensitive to water contact, light and sound, aggressive, loss of appetite for food and water, lethargy, paralysis, and excessive salivation.
Animals that show any of the symptoms must be reported to the DVS Sarawak by calling phone numbers 082-628248/610023 (Direct Line Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) or via WhatsApp or text message to +6016-2557267 immediately.
Rabies has so far claimed 31 lives in Sarawak since the outbreak was declared in the state on July 1, 2017. This included two deaths recorded on March 13. The two rabies death cases recorded in Sibu and Kuching, were also the first two for the country this year.