By John Isaac
SIBU Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting views the threat posed by rabies as ‘more frightening’ than Covid-19, in that getting infected by rabies is akin to getting a death sentence.
“This disease (rabies) is even more frightening than Covid-19 because once they (victims) get bitten and get infected, they have no chance of living.
“It is definitely a death sentence, so do keep your dogs inside your house compounds,” he told a press conference after chairing a full council meeting reported by Borneo Post.
In this regard, he reiterated his call for Sibu folk to ensure their pet dogs remain within their house compounds, saying it is the only preventive measure to keep everyone safe from rabies.
On dog-catching operations, Ting said SMC has been able to catch an average of 120 dogs a month but called the figure “a drop in the ocean”.
In view of this, he said the council had engaged the services of a private contractor to help catch roaming dogs but added that the latter could not fulfil the request to catch 200 dogs a month.
“They (contractor) wrote in and they said they could only catch 30 dogs. It is not easy to catch a dog. They do not have the experience,” he said.
Last week, a 34-year-old woman in Sibu was confirmed to be the latest rabies victim in the state.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the victim was admitted to Sibu Hospital on Oct 12 due to weakness in both legs and died on Oct 18, and was diagnosed with rabies encephalitis.
An investigation found that the victim stayed in an area located near a rubbish disposal site where there were many free-roaming dogs.
She had been bitten by her pet dog towards the end of 2018 and had not sought any medical attention at any medical facility, said Dr Noor Hisham, adding the woman’s pet had roamed freely and mixed with other animals, and had never been given anti-rabies vaccination.