Thursday, September 19

Statewide anti-rabies ops to go on, says Uggah

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Uggah (centre) chairs the committee meeting.

KUCHING: The statewide anti- rabies operations will go on as Sarawak is bracing for a potential 19th rabies infected human.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah yesterday announced the fourth phase of the operations which covers Serian and Simunjan districts from June 20 to 25.

He also revealed that a suspected rabies victim was undergoing treatment at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).

This came more than a week after rabies claimed the life of the 17th victim, a 26-year-old man from Batu Kawa, who died at Sarawak General Hospital on May 31.

Another victim, who was infected in August 2017, is comatose, and is being treated at home.

“It is sad that human positive cases are still happening.

“We must and will take this very seriously especially in our on-going and future anti- rabies operations,” said Uggah after chairing the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, of which he is the chairman, meeting on rabies yesterday .

Uggah said despite the frequent advice on how to treat oneself after being bitten by dogs in the newspapers, social media, leaflets and posters, there were still some people ignorant of such treatment.

“Treatment is very easy. First, wash the bite or scratch marks with soap and running water for 10 to 15 minutes. Second, go immediately to the nearest hospital or clinic to seek further treatment,” he said.

On the operation, Uggah said the committee had conducted three phases of operation so far covering Lundu, Bau, Samarahan and Kuching districts and Padawan sub district.

The integrated operation involving multiple agencies was initiated on March 1 after the rabies outbreak was declared a Level 2 Disaster earlier this year.

“We have managed to remove 5,867 stray dogs and 38 cats.

“Generally, I believe we have achieved our objective despite facing some weaknesses, challenges and oppositions.

“I hope the coming operations will be carried out in a more orderly and effective fashions,” he said.

For the record, the Serian leg of the operation will cover 257 villages with 18,837 households.

There are 7,817 dogs belonging to 3,900 owners and 552 strays.

So far this year, 25 dogs have been vaccinated.

Last year, a total of 9,457 dogs had been vaccinated including those in the Tebedu District.

For Simunjan District, the operation will cover 144 villages and 12 oil palm plantations.

The district is said to have an estimated 104 stray dogs while 257 other dogs have not been vaccinated.

Deputy State Secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, director of the State Safety and Enforcement Unit Dato Dr Chai Khin Chung, director of State Veterinary Services Department Dr Adrian Susin Ambud, and police Community Crime Prevention and Safety section head DSP Ang Seow Aun who represented State Police Commissioner were also present at the meeting.