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Rabies (Canine) in Peninsular Malaysia

25 Aug 2015

The Department of Veterinary Services in Malaysia has reported a case of canine rabies to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The incident was first identified on 27 July and on 4 August 2015, rabies virus was laboratory confirmed in a dog in the town of Kaki Bukit in the state of Perlis in the far north of peninsular Malaysia. The dog's owner and one other dog lived in the town which is close to the border with Thailand and Myanmar. The last time rabies was reported in Malaysia was in 1999; the source of infection in this occurrence is unknown at present.

Control measures have been applied, including: the control of animal movement within the counrty, rabies vaccination in response to the outbreak, disinfection, quarantine, contact tracing and surveillance.

Advice for Travellers

In the UK, Malaysia is considered a high risk destination for rabies mainly due to a lack of reported surveillance data and close proximity to other high risk countries.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk. Travellers to Malaysia should avoid all contact with animals and dogs in particular. All animal bites should be reported promptly and assessed carefully.