Get rabies vaccination immediately if bitten by dogs, Dr Sim urges public

From left: Wong, Tiang, Sempurai, Dr Sim and Chieng rolling up the mat ('ngiling tikai') to symbolically end the Gawai Dayak celebration.

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SIBU, June 20: The public is urged to get vaccinated against rabies immediately after being bitten by dogs.

Speaking at a ‘Rabies and African Swine Fever (ASF) Awareness’ programme cum-‘Ngiling Bidai’ event at Rumah Bunsie Tiboh in Sungai Salim, Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said with vaccination, there is a 99.9 per cent chance that those bitten by rabies-infected dogs, will not die from the disease.

“If you are bitten by a dog, you must go to the hospital straight away and get vaccinated as there is a 99.9 per cent chance you won’t die from the disease. But if you delay getting vaccination, chances of you succumbing to the disease is 99.9 per cent as the virus will reach your brain,” he explained.

Dr Sim who is also the Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister said children being smaller in stature die faster after being bitten by rabies-infected dogs.

“Young children die faster from rabies as it travel 1mm per day to reach the brain. If you are taller, it will be slower for the rabies to reach the brain. So when you are bitten by a dog, you must quickly get yourselves vaccinated as we don’t know whether the dog has rabies or not,” he advised.

Dr Sim also urged dog owners to vaccinate their pets against rabies.

“Our aim is to have all dogs receiving the rabies vaccine. But unfortunately, the vaccine lasts for one year only. This is similar to the Covid-19 vaccine where you need a second dose, then a booster dose,” he said.

Touching on loans for longhouse residents to rebuild their longhouses, he said the State government had agreed to allocate RM15 million every year for the purpose.

“The Sarawak government has agreed that every year we have RM15 million (for that). During Najib’s (Dato Sri Najib Razak) time as the Prime Minister, the first year they gave RM20 million then after that 10 million. When Pakatan Harapan took over the government, they held back the money and then until the change in government, it was reverted to RM15 million,” he said.

As it is now, he said each ‘pintu’ (household) could apply for an interest free loan of RM15,000 that could be repaid by instalment.

Among those present were Sibu Rural District Council chairman Sempurai Petrus Ngelai, Bukit Assek and Pelawan assemblymen Joseph Chieng and Michael Tiang respectively and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Dudong branch chairman Wong Ching Yong. — DayakDaily