Rabies: S’wak records 9 human deaths this year, Padawan reports 17 positive samples in animals

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

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, May 16: Sarawak has recorded 11 human rabies cases, nine of which resulted in deaths, up to May 13 this year.

Sarawak Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said there had been 66 human rabies cases with 59 deaths since the rabies outbreak was declared in the region on July 1, 2017.

“A total of 1,251 animal bite cases were reported to the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) from January to April this year.

“Some 55 per cent of these cases were from owned animals (pets) while 66 per cent of the bites were due to animal provocation. Animal rabies-positive sampling cases for this year alone recorded 42 animals testing positive.

“All the positive animals were found to be not vaccinated against rabies,” Dr Rundi said at a press conference on Rabies In Borneo Conference 2023.

Dr Rundi speaking at the press conference on Rabies In Borneo Conference 2023 on May 16, 2023.

Padawan came on top with 17 animal rabies-positive samplings.

The areas were identified at Jalan Semeba, Kampung Bratan, Taman High Park Batu 11 ½ Jln Kuching-Serian, Taman Eden Fields Batu 11 ½ Jln Kuching-Serian, Jalan Golden Farm, Batu Kitang, and Batu 12 Jln Kuching-Serian.

This is followed by Kuching with 10 cases where dogs that tested positive for rabies were found at Jalan Song, Kampung Tabuan Melayu, Jalan Nanas Barat, Foochow Road, Lorong Seladah, Kampung Kudei Baru, Jalan Matang, Batu Kawa, and Rantau Panjang.

Other locations are Kampung Serayan Baru in Lundu; Kpg Grogo and Bau Market in Bau; Taman Desa Ilmu, Taman Sentoria, Kpg Sg Empit Jln Dato Mohd Musa and Taman Ceria Jln Dato Mohd Musa in Samarahan; Kg Krusen Mawang, Kg Tebakang Melayu and Kg Sebintin in Tebedu; Jalan Salim in Sibu; Rh Kerry, Nanga Sekuau in Selangau; Sibiyu in Bintulu and Kg Long Bidang Trusan in Lawas.

Although Sarawak has been actively taking measures to combat the disease with various awareness programmes and even administered 232,198 anti-rabies vaccination doses as of May 8, Dr Rundi acknowledged that DVSS continues to face challenges ahead.

He said the department receives an alarming average of 250 monthly animal bite notifications.

“As such, it is crucial to constantly elevate awareness on rabies prevention, vaccination, and control measures and find effective strategies and solutions to eradicate rabies in Sarawak.

“The Sarawak government is very much committed to this goal, with funds allocation for manpower, logistics and resources that are much needed to combat this disease.

“Part of our action plan is also targeted towards maintaining collaboration and communication with our bordering neighbours in Sabah, Brunei, and Indonesia to monitor border control and migration of animals,” Dr Rundi said.

He also emphasised that the movement of dogs and other domestic animals must be monitored, even between divisions in Sarawak.

“We want to always remind the public to be a responsible pet owner. Ensure your pets get the anti-rabies vaccination yearly and are kept under effective control. Do apply for a movement permit of dogs for any inter-division movement of dogs.” he added.

Meanwhile, among those at the press conference were Deputy Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, director of DVSS Dr Adrian Susin Ambud, chief executive officer (CEO) of Business Events Sarawak Amelia Roziman and CEO of Place Borneo Sdn Bhd Mona Abdul Manap. — DayakDaily