Source: The Borneo Post, Sarawak
KUCHING (June 11): Lawas Bazaar in the Limbang division has been declared as a rabies outbreak area following two positive cases reported recently, said State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
The Deputy Chief Minister said this brought the state’s cumulative number of rabies outbreak areas to 71.
“This area is 10km radius outside an area which has previously been declared as a rabies outbreak area, making it the 71st new rabies outbreak area,” he said in a statement today.
Twenty-two of the total rabies outbreak areas are located in Serian followed by Kuching with seven, Miri (7), Sri Aman (6), Mukah (6), Sarikei (5), Bintulu (5), Samarahan (4), Sibu (3), Betong (3), Limbang (2) and Kapit (1).
Uggah, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said a total of 205,898 anti-rabies vaccinations had been administered by the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department, which will continue the free vaccination programme for dogs across the state.
He said owners must make sure that their dogs are given the jab on a yearly basis.
He added that the vaccination services are available at any divisional Veterinary office or private veterinary clinic.
He cautioned that dog owners who failed to do so can be fined not exceeding RM2,500 under Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999.
He said their dogs can also be caught and removed if found without any proof of being vaccinated.
“Not restricting a dog’s movement will expose it to the rabies virus and walking the dog in a rabies outbreak area without a written permission from the department is an offence under Section 37, and is punishable by a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or a jail term of not exceeding three months.”
Uggah said pet owners should neuter their dogs or cats as a means of minimising reproduction of the animal so as to prevent them from mixing with strays.
According to him, signs of rabies in animals include attitude changes, aggressiveness, biting and foaming mouth, sensitivity to touch, water, light and sound, loss of appetite, lethargy, paralysis and eventually death.
Animals showing such signs must be reported immediately to the department’s Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit by calling 082-628248 or 082-610023 or WhatsApp to 016-2557267.
Individuals who are bitten or scratched by the dog should visit the nearest hospital for immediate treatment, which can save lives.