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Sarawak to hold talks with Indonesian consulate to curb rabies outbreak

KUCHING: Sarawak will carry out an intensive dog vaccination exercise in the Mile 7 and Mile 10 areas between Kota Sentosa and Kota Padawan to create a buffer zone to curb the spread of rabies from reaching the city centre.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said that it was necessary to create a buffer zone as the rabies-infected areas in the state has spread from Serian to Siburan, which is located 26km from Kuching.
Siburan, which was declared a rabies-infected area on Tuesday, is about 12km away from Mile 10, Padawan.
Abang Johari also said the state will also hold a meeting with the Indonesian consulate on Friday to discuss ways for both governments to curb the rabies outbreak.
"The rabies outbreak in Sarawak started from movement of rabid dogs across the border from Indonesia. We are going to discuss how we can collaborate with them to mitigate this problem," said Abang Johari.
He said the meeting, to be led by deputy chief minister and state Natural Disaster Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, would also discuss the need for buffer zones on both sides of the border with Indonesia's West Kalimantan province.
He said this on Thursday after visiting dog vaccination operations at Mile 10, Padawan, adding that the state will allocate RM500,000 to help its front
liners to purchase vaccines and other equipment for its dog vaccination programme to complement the RM2.5mil allocation from the Federal government to date.
As of Thursday, the state government has declared 18 areas as rabies-infected, including nine new areas in Serian; Kampung Ampungan, Mentong Berawan, Mentong Silaga, Engkabang, Tampek Sumpas, Rasau, Serian town and Mile 45, Jalan Kuching-Sri Aman.
Other affected areas are Kampung Krait, Paon Rimu, Paon Rimu Bakung, Remun, Lebor, Saroban and Tangga in Serian, Kampung Temong Mura in Tebedu, and Rumah Janta Punggu-Mawang in Sri Aman.
"Most of the areas are situated near the border including the new case in Lachau, where a dog was identified as rabies positive," said Abang Johari
Meanwhile, Uggah said vaccines have to be administered to all dogs in rabies-infected areas to prevent the spread of the outbreak.
"Sharing knowledge is also important so that both parties can alert each other of any occurrence at both sides of the border, because early detection is key," he said.
Uggah added that apart from vaccination, both governments will find ways to restrict the movement of dogs in the affected areas.
To date, over 10,000 animals have been vaccinated ,including 3,028 dogs, 7,559 cats and 44 other animals while 32 animals have been identified as rabies-positive including 26 dogs and six cats.
About 20 cats and 137 dogs have been put to sleep. A total of 516 dog bite cases have been recorded and 316 people were vaccinated.

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