Malaysian states stop culling stray dogs as no new rabies detected

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Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – Malaysia’s state of Penang on Friday stopped culling stray dogs after no new rabies cases were detected, ending the programme in three northern states following the resurgence of the deadly virus in August.

“There will be no more culling of stray dogs in the state,” Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said, adding that no new rabies infections were detected among dogs in the state since September 15.

But Lim said the vaccination programme for dogs will continue.

The adjacent states of Perlis and Kedah stopped killing stray dogs at the end of last month after no new rabies cases were detected in these areas.

At least 3,000 of the estimated 25,000 strays in the three states have been culled since the resurgence of rabies infection among dogs was detected in the middle of August, according to state veterinary authorities.

At least 21 stray dogs in the three states have been found infected with rabies, but there was no case of human rabies infection, the health ministry said.

The World Health Organization declared Malaysia rabies-free in 2012 after no infection was found among animals since 1999. Aside from dogs, cats, monkeys, bats and other warm-bloodied animals can also carry the virus and transmit it to people.

The last case of rabies infections involving humans was in 1998, according to the health ministry.

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