Two new rabies-infected areas in Sarawak

KUCHING: Two new areas have been declared rabies-infected by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee.

Chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the 68th and 69th location — Pedaan, Baram in Telang Usan, Miri, and Tatau bazaar, Bintulu, respectively — were in the 10km radius of where two stray dogs were caught and their test results came back positive for the disease.

Currently, 69 areas have been gazetted as rabies-infected statewide — Kuching (seven), Samarahan (four), Serian (22), Sri Aman (six), Betong (three), Sarikei (five), Sibu (two), Kapit (one), Mukah (six), Bintulu (five), Miri (seven) and Limbang (one).

Uggah reminded owners to get their pets vaccinated yearly. “Those who failed to do so can be charged.”

Under Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, if convicted, an individual can be fined not more than RM2,500 and the pet found without proof of anti-rabies vaccination can be sent for targeted removal.

It is also an offence under Section 37 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to let pets roam freely or even attempt to bring them out of rabies-infected areas without permission from the veterinary authorities.

If convicted, an individual can be fined not more than RM5,000 or sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding three months.

The Deputy Chief Minister urged owners to neuter their pets to control reproduction and also prevent them from mixing with wild animals or strays.

“Those with animals showing signs and symptoms of rabies must report this immediately to the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak at +6082-628248 / +6082-610023 (Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit) or via WhatsApp at +6016-2557267 (Rabies WhatsApp / Message).

“Those who are bitten or scratched should go to the hospital immediately for treatment. Immediate treatment can save lives.”