SIBU (Nov 29): The rabies situation in Sibu is worrying as 50 per cent out of 104 random samples taken from stray dogs so far this year have been tested positive for the disease, said Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee.
Dr Annuar said this is an indication that out of two stray dogs, one is likely to be positive for rabies and there is high possibility for the other dog to be infected.
“If you ask me rabies hotspots in Sibu, I can say that it is everywhere based on this figures,” he told reporters after officiated at “Plogging, Covid-19 and Rabies Outbreak Awareness and Road Safety Campaign” programme at Kampung Nangka futsal court here today.
Also present were Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew, Sibu Resident Charles Siaw, Sibu Municipal Council chairman Clarence Ting and Sibu Divisional Health Officer Dr Teh Jo Hun.
Dr Annuar who is also Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research therefore urged Sibu people to be more vigilant with the presence of stray dogs in their area.
“This is because the statistics from the Sibu Rabies Control Team so far this year showed a total of 1,801 stray dogs have been captured by the authorities,” he said.
He added there were a total of 1,350 dog bite cases reported, out of which 1,213 cases were recorded in Sibu district, while 90 cases were reported in Kanowit and 47 cases in Selangau so far this year.
“The authorities like local councils and Veterinary Department have taken prevention steps through awareness and free vaccination programmes.
“But what is more important is for the members of the public to take precautionary steps to avoid being bitten by dogs. If bitten, they must seek treatment at nearby clinic or hospital immediately,” he said.
On Lau’s suggestion for rabies situation to be made public on weekly basis similar to Covid-19 daily update, Dr Annuar said they need to get approval from the State Disaster Management Committee.
Lau had suggested that the members of the public should be informed about the latest number and locality of rabies cases in their area to increase their level of awareness on the disease.