KUCHING: The government is confident of achieving its aim of having zero stray dogs to curb rabies in Sarawak by 2025, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said.
He said this will allow the state to be free of human rabies by 2022 and dog rabies by 2025.
Lee said the government also plans to implement mandatory registration, microchip implantation and identification tags for all dogs between March and April this year.
“To eradicate rabies, we must make sure 70% of the dogs in Sarawak are vaccinated.”
He said owners must be responsible for making sure their dogs received their yearly anti-rabies vaccination.
“We want all dogs in Sarawak to have owners,” he said at a press conference after visiting Sentosa Hospital here today.
The rabies outbreak, Lee said, had been declared a “level two” disaster under the State Disaster Management Committee.
According to him, there are three levels of severity of an outbreak.
The first level is when only one district is affected. The second involves an outbreak in more than one district.
The third-level outbreak occurs when it starts to spread across the border, affecting other states, he added.
Currently, 11 districts in the state have been affected by rabies.
Due to the severity of the epidemic, he said the state government is cooperating with the Health Department in tackling the issue.
“So far, the government has spent RM2 million for the human anti-rabies vaccination.”
He said the ministry also provides anti-rabies vaccination to dog bite clinics.
He said 10 clinics and hospitals have facilities to treat dog bites. Another 15 dog bite clinics will be operational in the state by June.