KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has taken various actions to prevent and control the spread of rabies, as well as to eliminate the disease and prevent it from re-emerging in the country.
DVS Deputy Director-General (Development) Dr Suratan Kamarudin said the measures taken include forming an immune belt in the northern part of the Peninsula, involving the border states with a high risk of being infected with rabies.
“This is to ensure all forms of control actions by the authorities can be carried out effectively in the area involved, in addition to effectively controlling the population of stray dogs.
“All pet dogs are required to be given the rabies immunisation shot, license the dog, keep the dog inside the house and leash the dogs when taking them for walks,” he said during the Apa Khabar Malaysia programme, with the title World Rabies Day Celebration 2023 by Bernama TV recently.
Between January and August this year, the DVS vaccinated 7,430 pet dogs, including 6,230 dogs in the immune belt areas in the peninsula and Sabah.
The vaccination was conducted as part of an effort to increase dog immunity coverage by 70 per cent, with rabies awareness campaigns also conducted for the public and school children.
According to Dr Suratan, Malaysia is not free from rabies yet, with Sarawak still reporting cases.
He said 72 people were recorded with rabies between July 2017 and August this year, involving 65 deaths.
“We hope the public can continue to cooperate with the authorities by becoming responsible dog owners by ensuring their pet dogs are vaccinated against rabies,” Dr Suratan added.
Regarding World Rabies Day 2023, he invited the public to liven up the celebration, which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Veterinary Hospital (HVKL) from 8am to 6pm on October 1.
Various activities have been drawn up for the event, including an online photography competition, a colouring competition, a K9 detection dog demonstration by the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, and a first aid video demonstration by the Ministry of Health.
There will also be food stalls selling products by Fatihah Frozen, Abang Grab Kopitiam, and Puspanita.
The theme for this year’s celebration is All for 1, One Health for All.