In a statement on Monday, 14 January, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Malaysia has declared Taiping and Bukit Gantang as rabies-infected areas
DVS director-general Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam outlined the sequence of events that led to the directive:
- On 25 December 2018, two people were bitten by a dog belonging to their family member.
- Following the incident, the owner lodged a report on the incident on 31 December 2018.
- On 3 January, the owner had to put down their dog.
- A day later on 4 January, samples taken from the dog's brain were tested by the Ipoh Veterinary Research Institute and confirmed to be positive for the rabies virus.
Three stray dogs, located within a 2km radius of the initial incident, were later tested on 11 January and found to have contracted rabies as well.
DVS has now extended surveillance and sampling on stray dogs and cats within two to 10km radius of the affected areas
The affected areas include the districts of Kerian, Kuala Kangsar, and Kinta.
In addition to running awareness campaigns in schools, mosques, places of worship, and public places, DVS will also offer vaccinations for pet dogs from 15 January onwards.
"Vaccinated dogs will be issued a collar as identification, and a rabies vaccination record card will be given to owners," said Datuk Dr Quaza, reported New Straits Times.
However, stray dogs within the radius of the affected areas will be culled with assistance from local authorities, while road patrols will be made to detect any efforts to evacuate rabies-infected animals out of the area.
The statement also outlined preventive measures pet owners in Taiping can take
Datuk Dr Quaza provided the following advice to residents of Taiping:
- Cooperation from pet owners is needed so that their dogs can receive their rabies vaccination shot.
- Pet dogs and cats should be kept inside the house to avoid being bitten by stray dogs,
- The general public should avoid approaching stray dogs. If bitten, wash the wound with soap and immediately head to the nearest government clinic for treatment.
- Report the presence of stray dogs in the affected areas to local authorities or the DVS office.
The public can contact +605-8072703 for more information.
Read the full statement here.
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