Rabies rears its ugly head, Batu Kawah pet dog tests positive

Rabies can be spread through animal bites. — DayakDaily.com file pic

KUCHING, March 18: One of two samples taken from pet dogs in the Batu Kawah area has tested positive for the deadly rabies virus.

The sample collected from Jalan Min Chung is within the 10km area gazetted as rabies infested.

According to a statement from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), as of Saturday, 100 samples collected from 92 dogs and eight cats tested positive for the disease.

“We remind pet owners in affected areas to neuter their pet dogs and cats to control the population and minimise the risk of being infected by the disease,” SDMC said.

It also reminded pet owners to confine their pets, whether vaccinated against the disease or not, in order to prevent them from coming in contact with other animals.

Pet owners were also told to report to the Department of Veterinary Services via telephone at 082-612949 and 082-611607 if they noticed any changes in the behaviour of their animals.

The public were also warned against adopting any stray dogs and cats from rabies gazetted areas to prevent the spread of the disease.

In the same statement, the state health department reported 39 new animal bite cases on Saturday including 10 cases in Kuching, seven in Sarikei, five in Serian, four in Samarahan, three in Sri Aman and one in Betong.

According to the department, 27 of them were bitten by dogs, including three by stray dogs and 12 by cats.

“We advise those with a history of dog bites to immediately go for a check up at the nearest medical clinic,” it cautioned.

Sarawak saw the emergence of rabies in humans in June last year. The rabies outbreak has claimed six victims, including two young siblings.

A total of 30 areas have been gazetted as rabies-infested; 21 in Serian, four in Kuching, three in Samarahan and one each in Sri Aman and Sarikei. — DayakDaily