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Long wait for Matang to be officially rabies-free zone

IPOH: It will take at least two years to de-gazette Matang as a rabies-infected area, according to the Veteri­nary Services Department.

Its Perak director Dr Fuziah Muhayat said the process required the rabies causing Lyssa virus not to be detected in animals and humans for a period of two years, before the gazette can be removed.

“To do so sooner than two years will contravene the Terrestrial Animal Health Code by the World Organisation for Animal Health,” she added.

The state government had declared the sub-district as a rabies-infected zone after two girls, aged 11 and 12, were bitten by their rabid pet dog in early July.

Since then, 127 dogs and 239 cats have been vaccinated with 88 stray dogs culled.

On Monday, Kuala Sepetang assemblyman Chua Yee Ling urged the state to lift the gazette as soon as possible, adding that tourism here would be affected as long as the gazette remained in place.

Saying that the department would continue to monitor the situation in the area throughout the two-year period, Dr Fuziah assured that only one dog had so far been tested positive for rabies in Matang.’

That was the two-year-old dog which bit the girls, she added.

“Of the 44 samples taken, 40 turned out negative while the others are still pending,” Dr Fuziah said.

Matang , gazette , rabies infected area