Malaysia's Sarawak government has ordered the state veterinary services department to vaccinate all dogs to curb the recent rabies outbreak.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said that he has signed the Anti-Rabies Vaccination Order to help treat the dogs both living in infected areas as well as non-infected areas. The dogs are to be vaccinated under the second phase of the war against rabies.
Dogs in the infected areas were vaccinated in the first phase whereas all the dogs will be vaccinated in the second phase.
After visiting a dog vaccination programme in Batu Kawah, Uggah said, "Dogs in the remote parts of Sarawak, either accessible by roads or otherwise, will also be vaccinated."
Dogs living in the villages along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border will also be vaccinated as the Sarawak government is working closely with the Kalimantan authorities. The committee presiding over the rabies outbreak will be meeting again on Monday, February 5 to go through the ongoing anti-rabies programmes and check how they can be improved. Reported cases of dog bites will also be tracked. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorities state that one should immediately seek medical treatment if bitten or scratched by animals while traveling and should also start taking the series of vaccinations.
Uggah said that dog bite victims should be brought to the government hospitals if their conditions deteriorate.
"It is important to track the cases so we can know their progress and if there is any suspicion, we will bring them for treatment at the government hospitals," he further added.
As of now, a total of 6,384 cases of dog bites have been reported since the outbreak of June last year, while 38,953 dogs and 7,990 cats have been vaccinated for rabies. Since the last outbreak, five people have died while two are still under treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital.