‘Rabies is fatal, stay vigilant’

Dogs. — DayakDaily file pic

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, June 26: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak publicity chief Desmond Kho has urged members of the public to be more vigilant in protecting themselves from potential exposure to the deadly rabies virus.

He highlighted this following news of a suspected rabid cat caught in a housing estate last night.

“We are seriously concerned that the rabies situation in Sarawak is still alarming. For two years now, the authorities have been taking measures to contain and control the disease, but apparently it has spread not only in terms of geographical size but across species now,” he told a press conference at PKR Stampin office here today.

He shared that in 2017, rabies in dogs was first discovered in some parts of Serian, but today it has spread to Miri, Bintulu and as far as Lawas.

But other than dogs, Kho claimed there were cats and rats found positive for rabies now; thus making the situation very dangerous.

“More alarming is the information being shared online that 40 per cent of the dogs caught in housing estates around Kuching tested positive for rabies.

“Also, there is information that even dogs that kept within the house compound also tested positive for rabies,” he added.

Considering the non-improvement in the rabies situation in Sarawak, Kho said it showed that all the government’s efforts had failed to tackle the outbreak.

“As such, it is important that the public be well informed about the real situation and most importantly take all necessary precautions to protect themselves,” he urged.

He also viewed that all the talks on vaccination as prevention was rather misleading considering the serious rabies situation had not been contained or efforts have resulted in any improvements.

“The public must be more careful and keep away from unknown and stray animals as well as seek medical treatment immediately if bitten or scratched,” he advised.

“We know that the government is working on controlling the outbreak while there are groups trying to protect the animals, but all these have led to an alarming situation.”

So, as the government sort out its enforcement and fine-tuning its measures, he warned the public that rabies is fatal.

“We also hope that the press will continue to highlight how dangerous rabies is because there are people who are still ignorant,” he added. — DayakDaily