HomeNEWSChang calls for compulsory antibodies jab for every dog bite victim

Chang calls for compulsory antibodies jab for every dog bite victim

Irene Chang

SIBU: Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak and the State Health Department should review their standard operating procedures (SOP) in medical response to dog/cat bites victims.

She said they should adopt the compulsory post-exposure rabies jab for every dog/cat bite and scratched victim regardless of whether the scratch is superficial or otherwise.

“This is of crucial importance as once the symptoms appear in the victim, it is virtually 100 per cent fatal,” she said in a media statement.

Chang said currently, when the victim sought treatment at the dog bite clinic, the wound would be treated and the victim would be given a tetanus or antibodies jab or both.

She said no anti-rabies immunoglobin vaccination/post exposure rabies jab would be given unless the bites/scratches had penetrated the skin of the victim and caused bleeding from the wound.

“If the wound/scratch is superficial, the practice is not to give the post exposure rabies jab but to send the victim back home for observation of the culprit dog. If the dog remained healthy after a certain period of time, then the case would be closed.”

However, she said the short observation time might not reveal accurately if the animal that caused the wound was rabid.

“This is because even though the normal incubation period for any rabid dog before it would show any symptom is typically 1 – 3 months, the incubation period can still be as long as 1 year. Within that time, the victim might have succumbed to the bites/scratches even before the rabid dog.”

She added, currently not every dog which has bitten or scratched a person would be sent to be checked if it has been infected by the rabies virus.

“Although bites are the most common mode of rabies transmission, it has been medically proven that the virus can also be transmitted through non-bite exposures which can include licks, scratches, abrasions or open wounds which have been exposed to the saliva of a rabid dog.

“It is therefore safer and more prudent of the authorities to treat every dog bite or scratch victim with the post-exposure rabies jab rather than adopting “the wait and see” attitude.”

Chang also urged dog owners to keep their dogs in their own compounds and not to allow them to roam the streets.

“I understand that many people find it difficult to keep their dogs in as when a dog has been let out before, it shall always want to run out whenever the house gate opens.

“However, rabies had already killed 27 persons since the rabies epidemic was declared in the state on 31 July 2017.”

Chang said those owning dogs should do their part to eradicate rabies in the state.

“And even if our pets have been vaccinated against rabies, they may still not be 100 per cent protected from the disease.

“Hence, we should cultivate the habit of keeping our dogs in our house compound and not allow them to roam freely in the neighbourhood where they might encounter stray dogs which might have the disease and might later go back home to transmit the disease to the owners.”

She said the authorities should step up efforts to remove every stray dog and cat from the streets.

The post Chang calls for compulsory antibodies jab for every dog bite victim appeared first on Borneo Post Online.

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