KUCHING, Oct 17 — The state government has approved an allocation of RM10.14 million for the control and elimination of rabies this year, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.
He said the state government is serious about eliminating rabies by providing the required funding, personnel and logistics.
“The state government considers rabies control and elimination as a top priority and has placed it under the State Disaster Management Committee for effective implementation,” he said at the state level World Rabies Day which fell on September 28.
He added that the Plan of Action for Rabies Control and Elimination Programme developed during a workshop in December 2019 recommended for rabies control measures to be enhanced and strengthened.
He said these include mass vaccination of dogs to achieve and maintaining 70 per cent vaccination coverage, targeted removal of free-roaming dogs and strays, carrying out awareness programmes, dog registration including licensing, the conduct of active and passive surveillance as well as data collection and dissemination.
“The workshop also recommended the creation of an immune belt along the 120km Sarawak Kalimantan border to curb movements of dogs and the deployment of 32 immune belt enforcement teams to cover the 978 villages, estates and government outposts.
“These teams will carry out surveillance and will be trained to vaccinate dogs in this immune belt,” Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, said in his speech read by Local Government and Housing Ministry’s permanent secretary Datuk Antonio Kahti Galis.
The state Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said since the outbreak of rabies in Sarawak from July 2017 until today, DVS has provided free anti-rabies vaccination to a total of 186,798 dogs as a continuous effort to eradicate rabies in the state.
He said every dog in Sarawak must be vaccinated against rabies annually, adding that collaboration from all dog owners to get their pets vaccinated against rabies is important.
“Dog-to-human transmission accounts for 99 per cent of human rabies cases globally,” Susin said.
“As a reminder, in accordance with the Anti-rabies Vaccination Order, all dogs in Sarawak must be vaccinated with the anti-rabies vaccine.
“Any owner or person in charge of a dog who fails without reasonable cause to comply with the Anti-Rabies Vaccination Order shall be guilty of an offence,” he warned, adding a person is liable to a fine not exceeding RM2,500 under Section 40, Veterinary Public Health Ordinance (VPHO), 1999, for the failure.
He said dogs without evidence of vaccination may be detained or removed under the section.
Susin said owners who let their dogs roam freely on the street are also liable to a fine not exceeding RM2,500 under Section 37, VPHO 1999.
He also said the local authority may seize and impound any dogs which are not on a leash in accordance with the Local Authorities (Dog Licensing and Control) by-laws, 2018.
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