: Three states - Perlis, Kedah and Penang - have been declared as rabies-infected areas after more than 20 cases of rabies in humans were reported in the states, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
"In this context, we call on all quarters in those states to take extra caution, and if they are dog owners, they should ensure that their dogs are licenced and had been properly vaccinated."
The minister said this after visiting the family of fisherman, Low Tze Kian, who died on Aug 24 while fishing, at Kampung Telok Kertang, here today.
Ahmad Shabery said, so far, 200 Veterinary Services Department personnel nationwide had been deployed to help monitor and control the situation in the there states.
"The department had also instructed its personnel to take all the appropriate actions, including vaccination, and also to catch dogs, especially the unlicensed ones," he said.
Meanwhile, Veterinary Services deputy director-general (Development) Datuk Dr Quaza Nizamuddin Hassan Nizam said as of today, 22 victims were reported to have been bitten by stray dogs in Perlis, five in Kedah and two in Penang.
"A total of 82 brain samples of dogs, 65 of which in Perlis and 17 in Kedah, have been tested and 25 of them were tested positive of rabies," he said.
Dr Quaza said awareness programme would be carried out and operation to destroy stray dogs on the street would also be done in affected areas to prevent the disease from spreading to other areas.
"We will work closely with the local authorities to destroy stray dogs and if, during the programme, owners of licenced dogs are required to keep the animal locked and secured in their house.
"There is no risk for them to keep their pet dogs in the house as the disease is spread only through stray dog bites," he added.