KUCHING: The on-going integrated operation to vaccinate pet dogs and remove strays throughout Sarawak will now move to Samarahan and Padawan following the success of the operation in Lundu and Bau.
The federal government has allocated RM9.3 million to make sure that the whole pilot project aimed at containing the spread of rabies virus is done thoroughly, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman, at a press conference here yesterday.
The first operation in Lundu and Bau was held on March 1 to 10 while the second operation will be held in Samarahan and Padawan on April 4 to 15.
Uggah also said bodies of 137 dogs – all found in Lundu – had been implanted with microchip to record useful data like ownership and number of vaccinations.
A total of 920 personnel from various government agencies were involved in the first operation.
The operation included instilling greater awareness of the virus and disease and also on how to prevent fatality after one has been bitten by mad dogs, he said.
“I wish to call upon all pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated once a year. And to those who are bitten by animals to make sure to clean the wound by using warm water before going immediately to the nearest hospital because we had a fatal case that occurred when the patient just went to the clinic to get treatment without being referred to the hospital,” he said.
Uggah said those recently bitten by a dog at Hui Sing commercial area and another, bitten by a monkey at Samajaya Nature Reserve, were given the appropriate treatment just to be on the safe side of things.
“There is no way the health authority could check if these individuals had contracted the dreaded disease unless samples of the dog and monkey in question are brought to the laboratory for tests,” Uggah explained.
Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Security Unit director Dr Chai Chin Chung were among those present at the press conference.
The Ministry of Health in January this year informed that the dreaded rabies has claimed the life of 16 persons who resided in Sarawak since it declared a state of epidemic involving the virus in July 2017.
The last victim was an 80-year-old woman from Kampung Sg Duuh, Siburan here. Her case was among the 17 involving humans recorded since July 2017.
Another victim is still in coma and is being treated at home. So far, 59 areas in Sarawak of 10km radius each have been declared as rabies-infected.