KOTA KINABALU: Concerned over the rising number of rabies deaths in Sarawak and Kalimantan, Sabah is not about to take any chances with the killer disease.
Surveillance is being stepped up at the common borders with Kalimantan and Sarawak, said Dr Nasip Eli, acting director of the State Veterinary Department, following claims that pet dogs were still being brought from Sarawak illegally.
Dr Nasip admitted that the department has been receiving such reports, but stressed there was no proof that the dogs had come in without any licences, dismissing claims spread on social media.
“We are maintaining a tight check on the movement of animals following the outbreak of rabies in Sarawak, with stringent checks on dogs and other animals coming into Sabah via Sindumin from Lawas in Sarawak,” he was quoted as saying on Friday.
A national news portal said quoted him as saying that round-the-clock checks are being conducted and so far they have not detected any move to smuggle in dogs or other animals into Sabah.
“Those using the land route to bring in dogs from Kuching, Sibu and Miri apart from Lawas in Sarawak would find it difficult because they have to pass through eight check points in the state, Brunei and Sabah,” the Star online quoted Dr Nasip.
“Surveillance has also been stepped up along the remote land borders between Sabah’s southern Tawau and Pensiangan districts that straddles with Kalimantan.
“We have increased our surveillance and public health campaigns with the people in Salong, Pagalungan and Long Pasia as part of our measures,” Dr Nasip added.
He revealed there has also been an increase in cases of people being bitten by dogs but none of the animals were infected by the rabies virus.
He said a WhatsApp group comprising all veterinarians in the state has been created pertaining to the deadly disease.
“Controls are being discussed constantly and everyone remains on the alert,” he said, adding that dogs imported without licences would be impounded and veterinarians had to report if they come across any cases.