KUCHING, Jan 6: Sarawak Veterinary Services Department (JPVS) is appealing to members of the public, especially non-governmental organisations (NGO) to help organise mass rabies vaccination programmes.
Speaking at the first mass vaccination programme for dogs this year, which was carried out at Taman Heng Guan, Matang today, JPVS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said the department is unable to identify every single area affected, and hence, urged members of the public to share their suggestions on venues.
“You can organise the programme. Just come to our JPVS office in Semenggoh, inform us which area we should go and we will deploy our team out to conduct the mass vaccination. Please help us prevent and control the outbreak and the spread of this disease,” he said.
With enough manpower, the team will be able to conduct the programme within 3-5 days after the application.
To date, a total of 42,261 pets comprising 34,229 dogs, 7,987 cats and 45 other animals have been vaccinated against rabies.
The outbreak which started in June last year, has affected over 20 areas in Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman and Sarikei.
A total of 17 new animal bite cases had been reported on Jan 5. Eight came from Serian, six from Kuching, two in Sri Aman and one in Samarahan.
Of these, 13 cases were caused by pets (eight dogs and five cats) while four cases were bites by strays (three dogs and one cat).
After pets receive vaccination, Dr Adrian said, they should be kept indoors or within the house compound for a month or at least two weeks in order for them to build sufficient immunity.
“The public should not to mix their pets (whether vaccinated or not) with stray animals and always observe their behaviour. On finding a canine that has changed its behaviour from tame to aggressive, exhibiting fear of water and light, and salivating excessively, owners are advised to contact JPVS at 082-612949 or 082-611607 immediately,” he added.
Meanwhile, contrary to some rumours, Dr Adrian assured the public that there are sufficient supplies of the rabies vaccine in the state.
He said the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) also contributed 25,000 doses of rabies vaccine recently to help Malaysia fight the outbreaks, particularly in Sarawak.
On the police report lodged by JPVS against certain groups or individuals, who threatened the department staff with verbal violence at the Muara Tuang laboratory office yesterday, Dr Adrian said they will leave it to the police to investigate.
The police report also mentioned several comments made on a Facebook page, suggesting violence against the personnel involved in the culling of stray dogs. — DayakDaily