Tuesday, May 28

Malaysia plans to stop the rabies epidemic by 2030

By 2030, the government hopes to have eradicated the rabies virus from the nation.

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chan Foong Hin, efforts are being made to meet the goal of having cases discovered solely in Sarawak and under control.

He said that as a preventative precaution, anti-rabies vaccines are now required for dogs in Sarawak and Sabah’s buffer zones but are still optional in the other states.

“It is important to get the pets vaccinated and dogs can be vaccinated as early as three months old.

“The concern is when dog owners refuse to register their pets, which is irresponsible. Hence it will make it difficult (for authorities) to control the disease,” he said in a press conference.

According to him, the government had set a goal of immunizing 40,000 dogs in Sarawak, but as of September 7 only 27,668 had done so.

Sarawak continues to have a high rabies infection rate; 90 dogs and 7 cats have been identified this year.

There have been 65 cases of rabies-related deaths in all.

Dogs in Sarawak were rarely leashed, according to senior director of the veterinary public health division at the veterinary services department Dr. Rohaya Mohd Ali, which may have something to do with the state’s high incidence of cases.

Aside from spreading knowledge about the illness, the best strategy to deal with the cases was to vaccine pets and manage its numbers.

She explained that seized stray dogs are typically castrated before being released in order to manage the number.

“In Sarawak, rabies is considered endemic.

“If there are suspected cases of rabies, please inform the department for prompt action,” she added.

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