KUCHING (Feb 18): Kampung Hilir in Sri Aman today has been declared as a rabies infected area, after a confirmed case was detected in a dog here.
According to Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak director Dr Adrian Susin, a 59-year-old woman lodged a report to the DVS after she was bitten by her pet dog on Feb 2.
The dog apparently showed signs of rabies infection, and had been free roaming and has never been vaccinated, he said.
“The dog was confirmed to be infected with rabies and was removed by the DVS on Feb 5. The woman has been given an anti-rabies vaccination and is currently being treated in Sri Aman Hospital,” said Dr Adrian, adding that only the dog had tested positive for rabies and not the woman.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas in a statement today said as Kampung Hilir in Sri Aman was outside the 10km radius that has been declared a rabies infected area, it is now the 67th rabies infected area in Sarawak.
All in all, the rabies infected areas are in Kuching district with seven areas, Sibu (2), Miri (6), Sarikei (5), Kapit (1), Bintulu (4), Samarahan (4), Betong (3), Serian (22), Mukah (6), Limbang (1) and Sri Aman (6).
The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman advised dog owners to ensure that their dogs are given an anti-rabies vaccination every year.
He said failure to do so would violate Section 40 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, where a fine not exceeding RM2,500 will be imposed and the dog caught without proof of anti-rabies vaccination can be sent for targeted removal.
“The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak wishes to remind the public that it is an offence under Section 37 of the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to allow their dogs to roam freely, and to bring their pet dogs outside of rabies infected areas without written permit from the Sarawak Veterinary Authority.
“Upon conviction, an individual can be fined not more than RM5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both,” he said.
Uggah also reminded pet owners to neuter their pet dogs or cats to control their population.
He also advised pet owners to keep their pets from mixing with stray animals, and recognise the signs and symptoms of rabies.
The symptoms are a sudden change in behaviour, sensitive to water contact, light and sound, aggressiveness, loss of appetite for food and water, lethargy, paralysis, and excessive salivation.
Animals that show any of the symptoms must be reported to the DVS Sarawak by calling phone numbers 082-628248/610023 (Direct Line Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) or via WhatsApp or text message to +6016-2557267 immediately.