The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), in support of the annual World Rabies Day, will hold an exhibition at Statue Square in Central this weekend (September 23 and 24) to raise public awareness and understanding of the importance of rabies prevention.
The two-day exhibition will be open from 10am to 5pm. Souvenirs will be distributed.
In addition to an interactive education booth, there will be display panels printed in five languages, namely Chinese, English, Thai, Indonesian and Tagalog on dos and don'ts for handling dogs in public places.
"Hong Kong has a good track record in rabies control and has been rabies-free for many years. Maintenance of our rabies-free status hinges on the effective rabies regulatory regime and co-operation from the public," an AFCD spokesman said today (September 22).
Rabies is a potentially fatal disease and can be transmitted from infected dogs to humans through dog bites. It is estimated that over 55 000 people, mostly in Africa and Asia, die of rabies every year.
"Although the last animal rabies case in Hong Kong was reported in 1987, we should stay vigilant and take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent the disease," the spokesman said.
A comprehensive anti-rabies programme has been implemented by the AFCD, with vaccination as the key measure. Under the Rabies Ordinance, all dogs aged over 5 months must be vaccinated against rabies, licensed and microchipped. Offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of $10,000. For more information, please visit www.pets.gov.hk/en_dog_1_4_1.php.
Currently, about 180 000 dogs with valid licences are vaccinated. To ensure an adequate level of protection against rabies, dogs must be re-vaccinated every three years when the dog licence is renewed.
Vaccination is available from private veterinary surgeons or at the AFCD's four animal management centres.
"As a precautionary measure, people who are bitten by dogs should immediately seek medical attention and report the case to the Police, who will forward the information to the AFCD for investigation. People should also observe good hygiene and avoid feeding stray dogs," the spokesman said.