Two new cases of rabies reported

KUCHING: Two cases of rabies were reported in Limbang Division recently, specifically Lawas town.

“As it is outside the 10km radius of areas that have been declared, this will be the 71st new rabies outbreak in the state,” said Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

“So far, Serian has the highest rabies areas, which is 22, followed by seven each in Kuching and Miri; six each in Sri Aman and Mukah; Sarikei and Bintulu each has five; Samarahan (four); three each in Betong and Sibu; Limbang (two); and Kapit (one).”

He added that 205,898 anti-rabies vaccinations had been done by the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department (JPVS) and this free programme would continue throughout Sarawak.

“Owners are once again reminded to make sure their pets are given anti-rabies vaccine every year.

“Jabs are available at any divisional veterinary office or private veterinary clinic.

“Failure to do so is punishable under Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999.”

Letting a dog loose, he said, would expose it to the rabies virus and taking the dog out of the rabies outbreak area without written permission from JPVS was an offence under Section 37, and punishable with a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months.

“Owners should spay their dogs or cats to control  reproduction, and prevent pets from mixing with wild animals or strays.

“Signs of rabies in animals are; attitude changes, aggressiveness, biting and foaming on the mouth, sensitive to touch, water, light and sound, loss of appetite, lethargy, paralysis and eventually death.”

Animals showing such signs must be reported immediately to JPVS at +6082-628248/+6082-610023 (Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit)/+6016-2557267 (Rabies WhatsApp/Message).

“Those who have been bitten or scratched should go to the hospital immediately for treatment. Immediate treatment can save lives,” Uggah stressed.