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Penang takes steps to prevent rabies outbreak

20 Juillet 2017

The pet dog had bitten the owner's daughter and niece.

The state was caught off guard during a rabies outbreak in 2015 and, faced with a shortage of vaccines, had to cull hundreds of dogs to contain the situation.

He said there were 10,000 stray dogs in Penang, which would make it hard to keep track of any rabies outbreak, but added that about 7,000 dogs have been registered and vaccinated so far.

Kedah Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Leong Yong Kong said the Department of Veterinary Services and local councils of both states would carry out early prevention efforts to ensure that the two states stay rabies-free.

The DVS now offers anti-rabies vaccination at RM5 each.

State health exco Dr Afif Bahardin said the state Veterinary Services Department had set up roadblocks at the Perak-Penang border to ensure dogs were not being transported into the state. Authorities also vaccinated all pets within the same area.

Devan said as a rule of thumb, in epidemiology, vaccinating 70% of a population from any disease will see the formation of an "invisible shield" against the disease, whether in humans or animals.

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"Currently, the DVS has 3,870 doses of the vaccine and the amount will be increased when needed".

Several measures, including setting up roadblocks to check incoming vehicles with dogs and microchipping of dogs brought in for vaccination, have been implemented.

He said there were some 10,000 stray dogs in Penang and it would be hard to keep track of them for rabies.

Devan also spoke on the importance of tightening the country's borders to prevent people from bringing in animals that may be infected.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), rabies is also endemic in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.

"No one else has been reported to be infected with the virus including the two girls who were bitten by a rabid dog", he told a press conference after chairing a task force meeting to address rabies in Tanjung Malim today.

He confirmed that rabies was not only limited to dogs, but could be transmitted by all mammals including cats and rodents.

Penang takes steps to prevent rabies outbreak