By Chew Lip Song
THOSE bitten by dogs should get it treated immediately even if it’s just a minor wound, given the rise in rabies cases in Sarawak.
Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapaee cautioned the public against letting their guards down and advised them to seek treatment in hospitals immediately, Borneo Post reported.
“Dont take things for granted and assume that (just because it is) a small wound, one does not need to go to hospital.
“This is because the virus can attack the nerve and brain. Be mindful that time is of essence here,” Dr Annuar stressed.
He expressed sadness and disappointment over the latest human rabies case in Sibut as it shows the lackadaisical attitude of the public in the war against rabies.
He lamented that the people have let their guard down after so much effort to curtail the deadly disease since the outbreak was declared in Sarawak in July 2017.
According to him, the Veterinary Department has revealed 10 areas in Sibu where dogs tested positive for rabies.
“There have been two cases of rabies involving human in Sibu this year. The first was on March 8, where a five-year-old girl at Jalan Sentosa here was attacked and bitten by a stray dog on her face, mouth and eyelids.
“The Health Ministry had confirmed that the girl’s death on March 26 was due to rabies. The latest being a five-year-old boy bitten by the family pet at a housing area in Jalan Sanhill Barat.
“At the time when we are up against Covid-19, we have another disease to tackle, which is why we appeal for cooperation from members of the public,” Dr Annuar, who heads Sibu Rabies Control Team, told thesundaypost yesterday.
He repeated his advice for pet owners not to let their dogs roam freely.
The Assistant Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research further cautioned that dogs kept within the compound of the house could also get into fights with dogs outside the gate, and transmit the disease among the canines.
In this regard, Dr Annuar, who is Nangka assemblyman urged pet owners to get their dogs vaccinated once a year.
“Don’t wait for the authority to come to your place to carry out vaccination. As the owner, you have the responsibility to care for your pets.”
He also observed that there were dogs roaming in coffee shops in town, feeding on food scraps.
Hence, he advised the public not to feed these strays.
He disclosed that a meeting will be called soon to roll out a massive operation to remove free roaming dogs from the streets.
“Like the fight against Covid-19, concerted efforts (from everyone) is necessary to win the war against rabies. If members of public do not cooperate, efforts to rid the town of rabies would not succeed,” he added.