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Ministry of Local Government & Housing,
Tingkat 2, Baitul Makmur, Petra Jaya, Jalan Medan,
93050 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Tel: 6082-319614
Fax: 6082-311216

 
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Last Update: 19 Sep 2017
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Public told to exercise precautions in view of rabies outbreak
Posted on : 03 Jul 2017  Source of News: The Borneo Post
 

SIBU: About 90 per cent of rabies cases in Malaysia are transmitted by dogs, making it necessary for the public, including pet owners, to take precautions.

Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee advised this in the wake of the recent outbreak of rabies in Serian, where three children aged four, six and seven are being treated at the Sarawak General Hospital’s (SGH) Intensive Care Unit here and were reported to be severely ill.

He cautioned that the disease does not necessarily get transmitted to humans from dog bites, but from infected dogs’ saliva through open wounds on the skin.

“As you know there is an outbreak of rabies in Serian, which involved three cases at the moment. Rabies is actually (transmitted) from the dogs, it is from their saliva —it is a form of virus but this is zoonosis.

“It means that it is transmitted from animals to humans. It cannot be transmitted from human to human. But in Malaysia, it is commonly from (infected) dogs, (where) about 90 per cent of the cases are transmitted by dogs.

“It is very important to be aware that certain dogs carry this rabies. So, we have to be very careful with this, particularly with stray dogs,” Dr Annuar, who is also Assistant Minister of Education and Technological Research, told reporters after officiating at ‘Majlis Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri’ 2017 organised by Kampung Nyabor Malay Club (MUC) here on Saturday night.

The Nangka assemblyman added: “We are going to have an emergency meeting with the Local Government (and Housing Ministry) and Ministry of Health on Monday (today) with regards to how to curb this problem.

“But the disease is quite serious. Now it involves three children aged four, six and seven-years-old — some of them are very ill. We want to find out the root of the problem and some form of vaccination, or some form of further treatment for the three cases that are involved.”

Dr Annuar reiterated his advice to the public to be extra careful with dogs, especially if they have been bitten by dogs.

“But sometimes, it is from saliva; if you have some cuts on your skin, it can be transmitted. So, it does not necessary mean being bitten by dogs for the disease to be transmitted,” he said.

Asked if local councils would step up efforts to catch stray dogs on the loose, he pointed out this was an ongoing exercise.

He, however, noted there were some issues related to the catching of stray dogs.

“But of course, with these types of cases appearing, I think there must be proper steps to see how to get rid of the stray dogs.

“Also, those who keep dogs (as pets) should be extra careful. This is because (infected) dogs have weird behaviour and you have to be extra careful with this,” Dr Annuar emphasised.