Free rabies vaccination campaign for dogs in Sarawak

KUCHING - The Sarawak Veterinary Services Department is carrying out a free rabies vaccination campaign for dogs at Mile 10, Padawan, to curb a potential outbreak of the disease.

About 25 officers, led by Kuching Veterinary senior officer Dr Nicholas Jenek, took part in the programme held at the Mile 10 community hall near here.

"We focused on dogs because they carry the rabies virus. We have five teams on duty and we welcome the public to bring their dogs for vaccination," Dr Nicholas told reporters at the campaign on Thursday.

He urged owners of dogs with a recent history of biting people to bring their pets in.

This to find out whether the dog has rabies or merely a tendency to bite people.

"An infected dog would become rabid within 14 days. Therefore, when a dog is vaccinated, do monitor its behaviour. If it still bites people, then it is probably its nature and not due to rabies infection," he continued.

Dr Nicholas said the Veterinary Services Department will continue to collect samples to monitor the outbreak of rabies.

"If the owner refuses to surrender their dogs who have bitten people, we will give them 14 days to observe the behaviour of their dogs," he said.

Since the rabies outbreak, more than 10,000 dogs, cats and other animals have been vaccinated in Serian, he said.

Padawan is located about 12km from Siburan, which was declared as a rabies-infected area along with several villages in Serian and a longhouse at Sri Aman.

Among the affected areas are Kampung Tangga, Paon Rimu, Paon Rimu Bakung, Remun, Lebor, Krait, Saroban and Temong Mura in Serian, as well as Rumah Janta Mawang.