IPOH: The authorities have begun vaccinating all pets within a 1km radius following the death of a rabid dog which bit two children in Kuala Sepetang, about 70km from here.
The dog is believed to have been bitten by another which was brought into the country on a boat by foreigners.
Veterinary Services director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said the incident occurred on July 4 when the two-year-old dog bit its owner’s 11-year-old daughter and 12-year-old niece at a house in Tepi Sungai at about 7pm.
“Both victims have been sent to the Kuala Sepetang Health Clinic to have the wound treated and given tetanus jabs.
“Both have also been admitted to the Taiping Hospital for further treatment,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The dog had shown several clinical symptoms of the disease five days after biting the girls.
“The dog began to isolate itself and did not have appetite to eat. It then vomited, had a fever and suffered cramps in its limbs,” he said, adding that they received a report from the owner on July 13.
“The owner had brought the animal to be treated on July 11 but it died the next day,” he said.
Dr Quaza said samples taken from the dog’s carcass tested positive for the disease.
“It was confirmed that the dog had rabies after a test on July 15.
“A physical check on the carcass also showed a bite mark on its penis,” he said, adding that it was an isolated case and was not related to the outbreak in Sarawak.
Early this month, Peninsular Malaysia banned the entry and import of cats and dogs from Sarawak following an outbreak of rabies in Serian.
Dr Quaza believes the dog was infected by a rabid dog brought to Malaysia by foreigners from a neighbouring country.
Dr Quaza said the owner had also informed the department in January that there were several cases of dead stray dogs.
“Some pet dogs in the area have shown symptoms of watery eyes, running nose and hypersalivation. There were no cases of humans being bitten then,” he said, adding that there were about 120 pet dogs and 50 stray dogs in the area.
Dr Quaza said the department had begun taking the necessary steps to contain the disease.
“We are now vaccinating all pets within a 1km radius. We have begun surveillance within a 10km radius from the incident site.
“Dogs with symptoms of the disease will be put down, with the cooperation from the Taiping Municipal Council,” he said, adding that awareness programmes are also being held.
Dr Quaza advised the public to be careful and to keep an eye out for dogs with the symptoms and to stay away from them to avoid being bitten.
“Pet owners are also urged not to let their animals wander out on the streets,” he said.
“Those who have been bitten are to wash the wound with water and soap immediately.
“They also need to go to the nearest government clinic or hospital for vaccination,” he added.
He also urged the public to report any rabid dogs to the authorities and veterinary service department.
“People should not be worried as the affected area is limited to the fishing village,” he said.
Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the two girls are healthy with no other diseases.
“There were multiple bite wounds on their limbs but these have healed.
“They will be given vaccinations and their condition will be monitored. We will also monitor the situation closely,” he said.