Mobility of dogs to be monitored for rabies control


Helping hand: Sarawak Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian (left) assisting a member of the state security and enforcement unit who fainted ahead of the launch ceremony of the immune belt enforcement team. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/ The Star

KUCHING: An enforcement team to monitor the movement of dogs along Sarawak’s border with Kalimantan is being set up to further control the spread of rabies.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the immune belt enforcement team (IBET) would carry out surveillance to curb the threat of rabies carried by dogs from across the border.

“The rabies situation in Sarawak is under control, but we cannot take things for granted because this disease can cost lives.

“We also have a long border, so we will work together with the local communities to monitor and control rabies before it spreads,” he told reporters after launching IBET here yesterday.

Abang Johari said IBET personnel comprised Sarawakians with previous experience in the police or Armed Forces.

He said that they were from villages near the border who use their knowledge of the area and good relationships with the people there.

In his speech earlier, Abang Johari said the state government was committed to eradicating rabies since the outbreak started in 2017.

He said various measures, including mass vaccination of dogs and integrated operations, had reduced the spread of the disease.

“However, integrated operations are temporary in nature and cannot be carried out continuously.

“So, the state is setting up IBET as an ongoing and long-term measure towards eradicating rabies.”

State security and enforcement unit director Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung said IBET’s main duties were surveillance and targeted removal of dogs; vaccinating dogs; and collecting demographic data of dogs within the immune belt area along the 1,032km-long border.

“The team members will also educate local communities to be first responders in controlling rabies,” he said.

Chai said Sarawak had recorded 45 deaths from rabies since the start of the outbreak in July 2017, adding that 11 cases were reported to date this year, up from 10 cases for the whole of last year.

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dogs , Sarawak’s border , Kalimantan , rabies ,

   

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