Over 140K dogs vaccinated against rabies in Malaysia

SEREMBAN (BERNAMA) – The Veterinary Department has vaccinated 140,103 of the 205,000 dogs in Sarawak since 2017 as part of the effort to curtail the spread of the rabies disease there, said Veterinary Services Director-General Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam.

He said Sarawak had the highest number of fatalities (21) from rabies and studies have shown that in 95 per cent of the cases, the disease was spread by infected dogs.

“In the peninsula, we have conducted vaccination operations in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Perak, in immune areas about 50 to 80 kilometres from the border with Thailand. This way, we are able to control its spread to states further south,” he told reporters after launching the 2019 World Rabies Day with its theme ‘Vaccinate to Eliminate’ yesterday.

Also present was Negeri Sembilan Veterinary Services director Dr Nik Hamidah Nik Husin.

Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said so far this year, there have been no reported cases of rabies in the peninsula.

“The public does not have to be concerned, it is only in Sarawak, it is still under the disease control programme. We have vaccinated in most places in Sarawak, although more effort has to be carried out in Kuching,” he said, adding that besides dogs, cats have also tested positive as carriers of rabies although their numbers are small.

He also advised the public, especially in Sarawak, to vaccinate their pets to stop the spread of rabies.

Dr Quaza Nizamuddin said the department had carried out several control measures to stop the spread of rabies, including creating immune areas in the peninsula.

The immune areas refer to states which border a high-risk country, and the control measures include making it compulsory for dog-owners to immunise their pets, obtain dog licences and keep the animals within the house compounds. He added that a total of 11,314 owned dogs have been vaccinated in the immune areas.

Veterinary Services Director-General Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam during the launching of the 2019 World Rabies Day. PHOTO: BERNAMA