Two more samples found positive for rabies virus

KUCHING: Two more samples which had been sent to be tested for rabies at the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI), Ipoh were found to be positive for the disease.

According to a statement from the Sarawak Veterinary Services (JPVS), the two samples were among 11 which were sent to the VRI on Aug 15 (eight samples) and Aug 23 (three samples).

The statement said the two samples which were positive were from Kampung Triboh, Jalan Gedong, Serian which is located within the 10km-radius of the surveillance areas from Kg Rasau that was declared an epidemic area on July 18, 2017.

In total, 35,122 pets comprising 27,255 dogs, 7,822 cats and 45 other animals have been vaccinated in the state, while the JPVS has conducted 39,526 active surveillance and 1,119 passive surveillance to control the rabies epidemic in the Serian, Kuching and Sri Aman divisions.

A joint operation conducted by the Ministry of Local Government and the JPVS has so far caught 1,261 wild dogs in the Kuching, Serian, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Samarahan and Betong Divisions in a move to control the population of stray dogs in order to curb the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile the Sarawak Health Department said 53 cases of new bites have been reported today, with 12 cases in Serian Division, 39 in Kuching Division and two in Samarahan Division.

Of these, 48 involved pets, with dogs (34 cases), cats (12) and monkeys (two), while five more involved wild or stray dogs, (four cats and one squirrel).

This brings the cumulative number of animal bite cases from April 1, 2017 till today to 3,029 and 1,083 people have been given the anti-rabies vaccination.

To date, the rabies epidemic has claimed five lives in Sarawak. — Bernama