KUCHING: In an effort to completely eradicate the deadly rabies or mad dog disease virus, Sarawak has targeted to have most of the dogs in the state vaccinated by the middle of next month, said Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
Uggah, who is State Natural Disaster Management Committee chairman, said he has given instructions to the State Veterinary Service Department (SVSD) that all dogs in the affected and non-affected areas statewide to be given anti-rabies vaccinations.
He said pet owners could also bring their pets to private veterinary clinics for the vaccination and advised dog owners not to let free their dogs after the vaccination.
The authorities would also continue to control stray dogs especially within the affected areas in order to control the spread of rabies, he said.
He also advised those who got bitten by dogs to immediately go to hospitals but reminded operators of privately-run clinics and hospitals to immediately refer animal bite cases to government health facilities.
Uggah said the move was to allow patients to receive further treatment and observation, as well as the administering of anti-rabies vaccination to reduce the risk of rabies infection and keep track of their progress.
He was confident that the disease could be controlled, adding that it will take two to three years for Sarawak to be free of rabies.
“This could be achieved if everyone could give their full cooperation,” he said, adding that the steering committee would meet on Monday to determine another measure to control the movement of animal (dogs) especially those from the border areas.
“We have a task force committee with the authorities in Kalimantan, Indonesia and we continue to communicate,” he said.
It was believed that the spread of rabies in the state was due to stray dogs from the border areas in Kalimantan.
Meanwhile the Sarawak Health Department has confirmed one more case of rabies involving a 59-year-old man from Jalan Batu Kawa-Matang near here.
The case brought the total of human rabies cases reported in the state since June 30 last year to seven, of which five have died while another two are still receiving treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital here.
To date, a total of 6,158 dog bite cases were recorded in rabies-infected areas across the state. - Bernama