Rabies case detected near Taiping

PETALING JAYA: A new rabies case involving a dog had been reported in Kuala Sepetang, near Taiping, Perak by the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) today.

Its director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizammudin Hassan Nizam said the department received a complaint from the dog's owner on July 13 that his animal had died eight days after biting his daughter and niece.

"The department following up on the complaint initiated an investigation and visited the residence for details. The dog's carcass was obtained and sent to the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) in Ipoh, Perak.

"Examination on the carcass revealed that there were bite wounds on the dog's penis. While the VRI also confirmed that the brain sample taken from the dead animal tested positive for rabies virus which was conducted on Saturday," he said in a statement.

He further said investigations also revealed that the dog had presented clinical symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and cramps five days after biting the children.

The girls have since been sent to the Pusat Kesihatan Kuala Sepetang for dressing and tetanus injection and later admitted at the Taiping Hospital.

Pending confirmation from DVS to give vaccination, Quaza said at present the girls are still being treated at the hospital

Quaza also said the dog could have been infected through the bites of rabid dogs believed to be brought in by foreigners from the neighbouring countries by boats.

"I was informed that the dog owner said in January several stray and pet dogs had shown rabies-related symptoms including watery eyes, rhinitis and hyper-salivation.

"However, there was no dog bite case at that time," he said, adding that there were about 120 pet dogs and 50 stray dogs in Kuala Sepetang.

Advising the public not to panic regarding the update as it is an isolated situation, Quaza said the DVS has since notified the Health Ministry on the situation.

"This is an isolated case and has nothing to do with rabies cases in Sarawak. Among the disease control measures include vaccinating pet dogs which show no signs of clinical symptoms within 1km radius; destroying dogs with signs of clinical diseases; and collect samples," he added.

The department is also conducting surveillance within 10km radius from the infected location, collaborating with the local council to eradicate stray dogs and organising public awareness programme on rabies.