Perak’s Matang sub-district declared “rabies controlled area”

The Matang sub-district in Perak, Malaysia has been announced as a “rabies controlled area”, a step down from its previous status as a disease outbreak area.

Perak Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr. Mah Hang Soon said this was the outcome after 43 samples from culled dogs between July and Aug tested negative for the disease.

"There are four stages established by the Perak Veterinary Services Department that need to follow before the Matang can be declared free of rabies.

"For the first phase, Matang had been declared as an outbreak disease area. Now it has gone down one level, which is ‘rabies controlled area’.

"It will take about a year and six months from the second stage (rabies controlled area) before we can declare the Matang sub-district as a ‘white rabies area’, which is the third stage.

“The whole process will take about two years before we can de-gazette Matang into a rabies-free area," he told a press conference in Bangunan Perak DarulRidzuan.

Also present was Perak Veterinary Service Department director Dr. FuziahMuhayat.

"We have also informed the people in Kuala Sepetang that the area has been declared as rabies controlled area and there shouldn't be a problem if someone wishes to visit Matang.

"We have taken proactive measures and based on the surveillance, there is no recurrence of the case so far," he said adding that department would continue monitoring the situation and vaccinate dogs and cats in Kuala Sepetang.

Dr. Mah said as to date, a total of 317 dogs, cats and monkey have been vaccinated in the operation within a 10km radius of the detected case involving more than 2,000 pet owners.

"The operation and awareness campaign covers door-to-door checks where our personnel have visited more than 3,500 pet owners there so far," he added.

Dr. Mahalso added that pet owners will now be allowed to bring their pets out from the Matang sub-district area.

"They are free to go anywhere and there will be no 24 hours roadblock in Kuala Sepetang but I urge the owner of the pets to cooperate with us by vaccinating their pets," he added.

It was reported that the state government had declared the Matang sub-district as well as Larut and Selama, as rabies-infected areas.

In the first case, a pet dog had shown clinical symptoms of contracting the viral disease – vomiting, having no appetite, fever and cramps – five days after it bit two girls, aged 12 and 11, in Tepi Sungai.

The dog died nine days after the attack. The children recovered from the wounds without co-morbid or co-existing illnesses.

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