Sarawak party urges govt agencies to review rabies combat tactics

Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Veterinary Services Department personnel putting down a puppy showing symptoms of being infected by rabies virus in Kampung Lebor, Gedong, Serian, July 5, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Aug 24 ― Government agencies that are involved in curbing the outbreak of rabies in Sarawak need to re-look and re-strategise their efforts immediately, Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) Women wing said today.

Its head Kho Teck Wan made the suggestion after a five-year boy, suspected to be the latest victim of rabies encephalitis, died two days ago.

He was bitten on the face by a rabid dog and was admitted to the Sarawak General Hospital on August 2 after showing symptoms similar to rabies attack and died two days ago.

The Health Department, however, has yet to reveal the cause of the child's death.

Since the rabies outbreak in Sarawak last year, 12 people have been confirmed to have died of rabies encephalitis.

Kho urges the federal agencies especially the Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Health, Police and border patrols to work closely with Sarawak Veterinary Department and local authorities to combat the outbreak.

“Sarawak will certainly  need more manpower and funding to combat the rabies outbreak,” she said, urging the federal government to allow the Sarawak government and local agencies to engage international non-governmental agencies’ expert and assistant in the efforts to fight the outbreak.

Separately, PKR national women vice head Voon Shiak Ni called for a state-wide campaign to curb the outbreak.

She noted that the current campaign was confined to areas where people have been bitten by  rabid dogs and where dogs were confirmed to have been infected with rabies.

“I suggest the relevant agencies go for a state-wide campaign, even in places far away from rabies-infected areas,” she said.

Voon also reminded dog owners to cooperate with the authorities by not letting their pets to go outside the gates where  they could mingle with stray animals which could have contracted with the rabies disease.

She said that pet dogs, infected with the rabies disease, pose dangers to the owners and their family members.

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