KUCHING, Nov 17 ― The rabies outbreak in Serian division, which killed five persons, is under control as there are no more cases have been reported since July, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.
He said his Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development through the state Department of Veterinary Services, is continuing its surveillance effort to search for dogs showing signs of the disease and taking samples for test.
“These measures include creating a buffer zone in Sarikei and Betong Divisions to prevent the spread to central and northern parts of Sarawak,” he said, adding that mass immunisation of dogs is being carried out in the buffer zone.
He added to-date a total of 33,883 dogs, 7,904 cats and 45 other animals have been vaccinated against rabies.
In his winding up speech at the state assembly, he said a long-term measure is being taken to develop and maintain an “immune belt”, between 10 and 30km-wide, along the border with Kalimantan, Indonesia stretching from Telok Melano, Lundu to Lubok Antu.
Uggah said dogs in the villages and oil palm estates inside the immune belt are being identified and routinely vaccinated to prevent them from getting the disease.
He said Sarawak has historically been free from rabies until June 30 this year, when his ministry was informed by the Health Department of human cases of rabies in Serian.
He said the state Disaster Management Committee chaired which he chaired was activated on July 4 to ensure that actions taken by the relevant agencies involved in the control of this rabies outbreak were well coordinated and the public were informed.
Uggah said actions taken include the gazettement of infected areas and surveillance zones, carrying out the rabies vaccination and controlling the movement of pet dogs and cats from the infected areas.