Source: The Borneo Post
Dog owners bringing their pet dogs for the free rabies vaccination at one of the ongoing vaccination programme in Sarawak. — Photos by Chimon Upon
KUCHING (July 14): Kampung Mohd Taha, Bakong, Beluru in Miri has been declared as 72nd rabies infected area in Sarawak today.
However no case background was provided by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today on the reason the village was declared as a rabies infected area.
“In view of the fact that this village is within the 10km radius from other surrounding infected areas, it is now the 72nd rabies infected area,” SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said in a statement.
“Up to now, a total of 72 areas in Sarawak has been declared as rabies infected areas since the outbreak in July 2017,” he added.
Based on the breakdown, Kuching has seven infected areas while Samarahan (4), Serian (22), Sri Aman (6), Betong (3), Sarikei (5), Sibu (3), Kapit (1), Mukah (6), Bintulu (5), Miri (8) and Limbang (2).
On another matter, the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department has jabbed a total of 206,629 dogs thus far with anti-rabies vaccine.
The free-of-charge vaccination programme is on-going all over Sarawak, said Uggah, who is also Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development.
However dog owners should ensure that their pet dogs get the anti-rabies vaccine on annual basis at their nearest divisional veterinary offices, he added.
Failure of the owner to get his pet dog vaccinated will attract a fine of up to RM2,500 and also, the dog might be seized and put under targetted removal under Section 40 of the Public Health (Veterinary) Ordinance 1999.
Allowing dogs out in any infected area and thereby exposing them to the rabies virus under Section 37 of the ordinance would attract a fine of up to RM5,000 or jail penalty of up to three months or both upon conviction of the owner(s).
Members of the public are advised to report dogs with symptoms of rabies by contacting the department at 082-628248 or 082-610023 (Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) or 016-2557267 (Rabies WhatsApp/Message).
In a news report on June 10, 2021, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted as saying that Sarawak has recorded four human fatality cases related to rabies this year alone.
Since the rabies outbreak was declared in Sarawak on July 1, 2017, the number of cases have reached 35, with 33 fatalities, he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said only two child victims survive until today.
These two children however suffered serious neurological complications, he added.