KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Sabah is maintaining a tight check on the movement of animals following the outbreak of rabies in Sarawak.
State Veterinary Department acting director Dr Nasip Eli said surveillance is being stepped up at the common borders with Kalimantan and Sarawak.
He said the department was monitoring closely the movement of dogs and other animals coming into Sabah via Sindumin from Lawas in Sarawak.
"Our men are checking round-the-clock," he said, adding that so far, the department has not detected any move to smuggle in dogs or other animals into Sabah.
He said 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 had to pass through eight checkpoints in the state, Brunei and Sabah.
He also said that surveillance has 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," he said.
Dr Nasip said 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.
On claims that dogs mainly for pets were still being brought from Sarawak illegally, Dr Nasip admitted that the department has been receiving such reports.
He, however, said there was no proof that the dogs had come in without any licences, dismissing claims spread on social media.
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.