KUCHING: An operation to fight against the rabies outbreak which started from March 1 until March 10 managed to record 89 percent rate of vaccination.
The operation in Lundu from March 1 to 5 followed by Bau from March 6 to 10 involved 440 officers and personnel.
The operation was targeted at vaccinating dogs (100 percent) and to remove all strays in the two areas.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said, “Animal vaccination has been available for a long time but we found out that 2,794 dogs in Lundu have not been vaccinated yet.”
“Through this operation, 2,559 dogs from the total number (2,794) were vaccinated which accounts for 91 percent vaccination rate,” Uggah told reporters after the second post-mortem meeting on anti-rabies operation at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here, yesterday.
He also said that Bau recorded 81 percent vaccination rate. The total rate of vaccination in the two areas was 89 percent.
Uggah also disclosed that the next operation will focus on the removal of 1,756 stray dogs in Lundu and Bau.
He said, “During the post-mortem meeting, a number of issues were raised and these issues help us to plan our next operation.”
“We have decided that the next operation will be held from April 4 to 15 in the Kota Samarahan and Padawan areas. We are getting the cooperation from the Resident‘s Office and the District Office to engage with the locals. We are beginning our engagement with the community in both areas to explain the aims of the operation and to seek their co-operation in the vaccination of their dogs.
“This is also done to find the number of pet dogs and how many have been vaccinated so that we will know the number of dogs to be vaccinated,” he added.
He also recalled the recent case of an individual who was attacked and bitten by a monkey at a shoplot in Tabuan Desa Utara. However, as the monkey had returned to a forest nearby an investigation on the matter could not be conducted unless the monkey is caught.
Uggah said he could only pray that the monkey is not infected with rabies. He also stated that the federal government has allocated RM9.3 million for the anti-rabies operation which needed full cooperation from members of the State Disaster Management Committee, armed forces, police and other agencies including the Malaysian National Security Council, Malaysia Civil Defence Force, Health Department and Department of Veterinary Services from Kuala Lumpur.
“We are mobilising 440 officers and personnel and this operation will try to cover as many areas as we could to identify dogs which have not been vaccinated yet and to remove stray dogs. We are going to extend this operation to all parts of Sarawak,” he stressed.
Uggah also advised members of the public who have been bitten by any animal especially dog, cat and even monkey, to immediately wash the bitten areas with water for 10 to 15 minutes and go to the nearest hospital right after that.
Pet owners are also urged to vaccinate their pets yearly. He said, “We are experimenting with imbedding microchip in animals which was launched in Lundu, recently. The chip with details of the dog such when it was vaccinated and its owner’s identification was imbedded in its body.
“So far, 137 dogs in Lundu had been embedded with microchips,” he said. Among those present at the press conference were Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Security and Enforcement Unit director Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung and State Veterinary Services Department director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.