Rabies outbreak declared in 3 Malaysian states

TAIPING, Malaysia - The Veterinary Services Department has declared a rabies outbreak in three states - Perlis, Kedah and Penang.

Its deputy director-general, Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said the zoonotic virus was first detected in Perlis on Aug 19 with 22 bite victims to date.

"We have vaccinated and licensed a total of 443 dogs as well as culled 256 stray dogs in the state," he told reporters during an official visit by Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek to the home of a deceased fisherman in Matang on Thursday.

Dr Quaza Nizamuddin also revealed that five people had been bitten by stray dogs and were being treated in Kedah since Sept 13.

A total of 476 stray dogs had been culled while 1,639 dogs were vaccinated and licensed in Kedah, he added.

"We have gazetted Kedah and Penang as rabies outbreak areas today.

"So far, there are two people in Penang who were bitten - a boy from a fishing village in Kampung Sungai Penang, Balik Pulau, and a local council worker who was bitten during an operations to catch strays," he said.

He added that the first case of rabies was detected in Penang on Sept 8 after a stray dog, which had bitten a deer, tested positive for rabies.