SIBU: A dog that bit two members of the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) team last Sunday has been tested positive for rabies.
In relaying the news yesterday, SMC chairman Clarence Ting said the dog was caught several hours later and a test done on it confirmed that it had rabies.
A dog catcher and a lorry driver of the team were bitten at Kampung Sentosa, a rabies hotspot, while catching strays at around 10am.
One of them was bitten on the right ankle and the other on his hand.
The one who was bitten on the ankle had to be warded at Sibu Hospital for further treatment while the other was discharged.
Ting said two more persons were bitten by their dog yesterday morning.
“At the moment we are not sure whether these two dogs have rabies or not.”
Following these two attacks and two deaths reported earlier, SMC decided to increase the manpower of its dog-catching team from five to 11 persons.
SMC has also contracted out the task to a private company in its effort to curb the problem of strays and rabies.
“In Sibu, rabies is more dangerous than Covid-19 as there are already two deaths this year. We have Covid-19 (eight cases) but no deaths,” said Ting.
The first rabies case involved a five-year old girl, who died on March 26.
On June 23, a 62-year-old man died from rabies. He was bitten on his right calf by a dog belonging to his brother on May 12 at Kampung Sentosa.
The Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak had, on June 13, declared 10 rabies-infected areas here.
They are Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lorong Permai Timur, Kampung Bahagia Jaya Teku, Sibujaya, Mile 1/2 Jalan Oya, Jalan Hua Khiew, Ulu Sungai Merah, Taman Sanhill Barat, Jalan Oya Lama and Jalan Sentosa.
“There is no cure for rabies. Many a times when our team went to catch the strays upon public request, the dogs were no longer there. So it’s a waste of energy and time.
“We need few things. Number one: vaccinate your dogs. Two: spay your dogs or else their population will continue to grow,” Ting reminded.
He also urged pet owners to keep their animals indoors to prevent them from contracting the disease.