SMC reminds owners to vaccinate, spay dogs in wake of new rabies-linked cases

SMC chairman councillor Clarence Ting

SIBU, June 30: A test carried out on a dog which had bitten two members of the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) dog team on June 28, found it positive for rabies.

Speaking at a press conference today, SMC chairman Councillor Clarence Ting explained that the dog had been caught several hours after biting the dog catcher and the lorry driver of the SMC dog team at Kampung Sentosa, a rabies hotspot on Sunday.

The duo were attacked by the dog while on their rounds catching stray dogs in Kampung Sentosa at around 10am that morning.

One of them was bitten on his right ankle and the other on his hand.

The one who was bitten on his ankle was admitted at Sibu Hospital for further treatment while the other was discharged.

Ting said two more persons were bitten by their dogs on Tuesday (June 30) morning

“At this moment we are not sure whether these two dogs have rabies or not,” he said.

Following these two attacks and two deaths which were reported earlier, the council had decided to increase the manpower of its dog team from five to 11.

It had also contracted out the dog catching work to a private contractor so as to stop the population of dogs and to minimise the rabies problem.

“In Sibu, rabies is more dangerous than Covid-19 as there are already two deaths this year. We have Covid-19 (8 cases) but there no deaths so far,” he added.

The first rabies case this year was a 5-year old girl who died in Sibu on March 26. On June 23, a 62-year-old man died at Sibu Hospital from rabies. He was bitten on his right calf by a dog belonging to his brother on May 12 in Kampung Sentosa.

The Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) had also on June 13 declared 10 rabies-infected areas in this town.

They are Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lorong Permai Timur, Kampung Bahagia Jaya Teku, Sibujaya, Mile 1/2 Jalan Oya, Jalan Hua Khiew, Ulu Sungai Merah, Taman Sanhill Barat, Jalan Oya Lama and Jalan Sentosa.

“There is no cure for rabies. Many a time when our dog team went to catch the animals due to public request, the dogs are no longer there. So it’s a waste of energy and time. We need few things. Number one is to vaccinate your dogs. Number two is to spay your dogs or else their population will continue to grow,” he said.

Ting also urged dog and cat owners to keep their animals indoor to prevent them from contracting the disease.—DayakDaily