Penang starts mass vaccination of dogs against rabies on Oct 16

 A dog leaving the Penang Veterinary Department in Butterworth, Penang, after receiving an anti-rabies jab.
A dog leaving the Penang Veterinary Department in Butterworth, Penang, after receiving an anti-rabies jab.PHOTO: THE STAR

BUKIT MERTAJAM (The Star/Asia News Network) - Penang will start a month-long mass vaccination of some 10,000 dogs, including strays, against rabies on Friday (Oct 16).

Penang was declared a rabies infected area on Sept 17.

Veterinary Services Department deputy director general Kamarudin Mohd Isa said the process would be carried out in five hotspots - Tanjong Bungah, Tanjong Tokong, George Town and Batu Maung on Penang island, and at the Sri Rambai market on the mainland.

He said 5,000 doses of the vaccine are sponsored by Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) while the other 5,000 by the federal government.

Dr Kamarudin said the mass vaccination would be carried out with the cooperation of several non-governmental organisations and 17 private veterinary clinics.

The department had also sent 5,000 doses of the vaccine each to Kedah and Perlis, said Dr Kamarudin. But he did not say if they were also meant for the mass vaccination of strays.

"No new rabies case had been reported in Penang since the last case on Sept 21," he told a press conference at the department's headquarters in Bukit Tengah here. He said the department had vaccinated 1,580 pet dogs since Sept 17.

Mission Rabies international director Dr Kate Shervell said 10 members from the organisation would help out in the mass vaccination.

"Our previous experiences in India, Malave, Tanzania, Uganda and Sri Lanka to co-ordinate the vaccination of stray dogs will be helpful here.

"We will be assisting the population control of the stray dogs, sterilisation and the mass vaccination against rabies,'' she said.

Mission Rabies is an initiative by WVS to combat rabies. WVS is a Britain-based group that provide animal welfare charities all over the world with sustainable veterinary resource.

Penang Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin had previously said that about half of the some 50,000 dogs in the state are strays.