Mataram, W Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The Mataram city government`s agricultural officers have been struggling to respond to an increased demand to eliminate wild dogs amid a real threat of rabies outbreak in the city`s administrative areas.

"We can receive up to three requests from the local residents for canine rabies elimination in a day," Head of the Mataram Agricultural Office H. Mutawalli noted here on Saturday in response to his office`s endeavor to deal with the rabies outbreak.

The canine rabies elimination program has been conducted since January 2019 to deal with dogs that might have been infected by this viral disease, he remarked, adding that some 10 to 20 dogs were covered in every elimination program.

Due to this relatively high demand, the implementation of this elimination program was prioritized in crowded places, such as markets, since the wild dogs were often seen hunting food there, Mutawalli noted.

"Of course, we also remain cautious regarding areas with many dogs that the people report to us. However, if an area just has one or two dogs to be eliminated, our team members will be sent to the areas with more rabies-affected dogs," he stated.

Mutawalli said seven people had, so far, been bitten by the wild dogs, but after being treated medically, they had been declared "free from rabies infection."

In an effort to control the rabies outbreak in certain parts of West Nusa Tenggara Province, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has worked with the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and Dompu district government to train animal health officers.

The rabies outbreak in Dompu District had demonstrated the importance of capacity building for the related authorities, FAO Representative in Indonesia Stephen Rudgard recently said in a press statement made available to Antara on Feb 8.

"The outbreak of rabies in Dompu is very unfortunate and demonstrates the need to develop capacities within the local government, and especially the animal health service, to detect and respond to a priority disease, such as rabies," he emphasized.

Reporting by Nirkomala

Editing by Rahmad Nasution

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Reporter: Antara
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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