By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, March 14: The war against rabies continues in Kota Samarahan and Padawan this April 4-15 with over 400 government personnel to be deployed for an exercise ranging from vaccinating dogs to removing strays.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the second phase of this rabies operation would be carried out immediately following the success of the operation in Lundu and Bau on March 1-10.
The pilot project recorded 2,559 dogs with owners, or 91 per cent, receiving their rabies vaccination out of 2,794 identified in Lundu. In Bau, about 81 per cent of pet dogs were vaccinated.
The operation, which involved over 440 personnel from various government agencies involved with the state Natural Disaster Management Committee, such as the Health Department, Veterinary Services, police, military, Civil Defence Force, removed 673 strays and free-roaming dogs from their initial target of 1,756.
In addition, 137 dogs were microchipped to track their movement as well as to compile records of owners, address and vaccination.
“Before the start of our next phase operation, the Resident’s Office and District Office will engage with the locals, including residential areas and villages, to explain the operation.
“At the same time, we will carry out a census on the number of pet dogs in these two areas (Kota Samarahan and Padawan) so we are prepared to carry out the vaccinations,” Uggah told a press conference after chairing a post-mortem on its recent Bau-Lundu operations at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian was also present.
Uggah said the federal government had allocated RM9.3 million to combat the rabies outbreak. The money would be used to carry out similar operations across the state in phases.
“We will try to identify and vaccinate all pet dogs and removing the strays,” he added.
On the recent case of a man who claimed to have been bitten by a monkey at Tabuan Desa here, Uggah said the monkey could not be found or captured. It could not be determined whether the monkey was rabies-infected.
On the six dog-attack victims at Hui Sing Garden commercial centre recently, he said the individuals had sought treatment at Sarawak General Hospital and were given anti-rabies vaccination.
Uggah advised people bitten by dogs, cats and other animals to immediately wash their wounds and seek treatment at government health facilities. Pet owners are also reminded to vaccinate their dogs annually.
When asked on positive rabies cases from cat bites or other animals, he said the reports (currently being compiled) will be revealed at another date. — DayakDaily