By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, May 12: Sarawak may have to impose strict laws and a hefty compound to complement its fight against rabies.
Minister for Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Sarawak Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the region has made the vaccination against rabies mandatory.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Sarawak Security and Enforcement Unit (UPKS) and Immune Belt Enforcement Team (IBET) who are currently conducting mass vaccinations to assist the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS).
“However, all dog owners must (help to) vaccinate their dogs.
“For stray dogs, the local councils must come in to assist us in culling them.
“I’m very serious and if we need to impose the law, we will, to prevent any (rabies-related) deaths and so on,” he told reporters when met after attending a function at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Asked when the enforcement would take place, he said “it is going to happen soon.”
He further added that Indonesia has the same problem (rabies) and were keen to adopt the same approach – establishing IBET to curb rabies and conducting vaccinations along the border.
At the same time, Dr Rundi reminded those who have been bitten by animals, especially dogs, to seek treatment at the nearest health facility immediately to prevent rabies, which could be fatal if the virus reaches the brain.
“Don’t wait until you have signs and symptoms. The signs will only appear once the virus is close to the brain. The nearer the bite is to the brain, the higher the chance of death.
“If we see stray dogs that are behaving peculiarly and are very aggressive, stay away from those dogs. If bitten, you must seek treatment immediately,” he emphasised.
He also mentioned that a rabies conference for Asia Pacific region would take place in Kuching soon. — DayakDaily