KUCHING: The next phase of the anti-rabies operations in Sarawak will be carried out in Serian and Simunjan districts starting next week.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the operations to vaccinate dogs and remove strays would be done simultaneously in both districts from June 20 to 25.
In Serian, the operation will cover 257 villages with an estimated 7,817 dogs belonging to 3,900 owners, as well as some 550 strays.
In Simunjan, it will cover 144 villages and 12 oil palm plantations. The district is estimated to have about 100 stray dogs while over 250 other dogs have not been vaccinated.
Uggah said the state Disaster Management Committee had conducted three phases of the anti-operations earlier this year, covering Lundu, Bau, Padawan, Samarahan and Kuching districts.
"We have managed to remove 5,867 stray dogs and 38 cats. Generally, I believe we have achieved our objective despite facing some weaknesses, challenges and opposition.
"I hope the coming operations will be carried out in a more orderly and effective manner," he said after chairing the committee's meeting on rabies here on Wednesday (June 12).
The rabies outbreak in Sarawak has claimed 17 lives since July 2017.
Uggah said another suspected victim was currently undergoing treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital.
"It is sad that human cases are still happening.
"We must and will take this very seriously, especially in relation to our ongoing and future anti-rabies operations," he said.
He lamented that despite frequent advice on what to do in case of dog bites, some people were still ignorant about it.
"First, wash the bite or scratch marks with soap and running water for 10 to 15 minutes. Then go immediately to the nearest hospital or clinic to seek treatment," he said.