Sarawak Veterinary Services Department to capture all stray dogs in rabies affected areas of Serian

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KUCHING: The Sarawak Veterinary Services Department is rounding stray dogs in the rabies hit Serian district.

They will also conduct epidemiological surveillance within a 6km radius from the two infected areas – Kampung Paon in Sungai Rimu and Kampung Lebur in Gedong, which is 28km apart.

State Veterinary Services Acting director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said the two actions are part of the steps the department is taking to monitor and control the possibility of rabies spreading to other areas,

Dr Adrian added his department, which is working with the Health Department to monitor the situation in the affected areas and to take the necessary control measures, is also working with non-governmental organisations like the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), the Resident Office, the District Office and local authority.

He said they are also going from house to house in the affected areas to vaccinate the dogs and cats.

“Control on the entry of animals at all border points by the Veterinary Department will be tightened to prevent new sources of rabies outbreak,” Dr Adrian added in a statement

“The Veterinary Department will carry out rabies awareness campaigns through both the print and electronic media … and the department has activated its operation room at the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (in) Jalan Datuk Mohd Musa, Muara Tuang,” he said.

No new cases were reported today after the state Health Department yesterday declared a “health alert” in Serian after three rabies cases among children were reported there.

The children, aged between 4 and 7 years-old with two of them siblings, are reported “seriously ill” and are now all in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Sarawak general hospital in Kuching.
The Health Ministry, which posted the alert on its website, also stated health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah as confirming urine samples, saliva and skin biopsies of the victims that were sent to the Institute of Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur, were tested positive for rabies virus.

The 7 year-old girl from Kampung Lebur in Gedong was initially treated for fever but when she fell into a fits, she was immediately brought to SGH.

The Health DG said it is not ascertained yet whether the third victim was ever bitten by a dog.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by a virus mainly through dog bites.

Rabies virus is primarily transmitted through the saliva of an infected dog.

Infection occurs primarily via bite wounds, or infected saliva entering an open cut or wound or mucous membrane, such as those in the mouth, nasal cavity or eyes.

Dogs infected with Rabies are usually aggressive, showing excessive salivation and may attack human without any provocation.

Dr Adrian said people in the affected area should seek treatment immediately at the Serian hospital if they are bitten by dogs and also to inform the nearest veterinary offices. –