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Rabies: Zero Stray Dog Policy

Areas in Sarawak gazetted as rabies-infected

From June 2017 to December 2018, there have been 14 cases of rabies in Sarawak that were reported since an outbreak was declared. There were 13 fatalities caused by rabies which led to the 56 areas in all divisions, except Limbang, declared as rabies-infected.

In the second suspected case, a 74-year-old man, also from Kuching, was sent to SGH on Nov 25, a day after getting treatment at a private clinic for pain in his left side.

He was admitted to the ICU on Nov 28 and passed away on Dec 7, with clinical rabies as the cause of death.

Source: The Star

This year, in an effort to control the disease from spreading, The Health Ministry is recommending that a zero stray dog policy be implemented at all rabies gazetted areas. The call was made by the Health Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Its deputy minister, Dr. Lee Boon Chye said by implementing the policy it did not mean that the ministry encouraged the killing of wild dogs as there were procedures to be followed.

“We want to make sure that the owners take care of their dogs and do not let them roam around. If no one is taking care of the dogs, there must be an NGO to adopt them, failing which, the dogs will be put to sleep.”

Source: NST

In relation to the serious disease, which has a fatality rate of almost 100%, Dr Lee said that the dog owner should take responsibility on their pets and that pets should be monitored if it is infected.

“Dog owners should take responsibility by ensuring that their dogs do not run wild, are under control and vaccinated. In the case of stray dogs, an NGO should take care of the welfare of the dogs,” he said.

He said should there be concern that a dog has been infected with rabies, it must be monitored for two weeks.

If after two weeks there are no signs of rabies infection, the NGO may continue taking care of the dog and get it vaccinated once a year.

Source: Dr. Lee Boon Chye, NST

Taking an example from other developed countries like the Netherlands, Japan and Singapore that have already implemented the policy, Dr Lee added that the implementation of this policy is up to the Veterinary Services Department and the local authorities. Up to this date, new areas have been gazetted as rabies-infected and is under the surveillance of the Department of Veterinary Services.

Taiping and Bukit Gantang were gazetted as rabies-infected areas on Jan 14.  

Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said the department will extend its surveillance to Kerian, Kuala Kangsar and Kinta district in Perak to ensure the disease is controlled.

Source: The Star

The Star


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