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COUNTY ISSUES RABIES WARNING

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Safety officers from Suffolk CC are urging the public and local business not to let their guard down against the th...
Safety officers from Suffolk CC are urging the public and local business not to let their guard down against the threat of rabies.

The warning follows a summer 'blitz' on landing sites and moorings across Suffolk. Over a period of six days, officers from trading standards visited a total of forty-two locations including all navigable rivers and airstrips providing anti-rabies advice and guidance.

The move came after previous years in Suffolk have seen a host of illegally landed animals on our shores. Some animals arrive as stowaways after becoming trapped in containers bound for Felixstowe. This year, so far, no illegal animals have been reported in Suffolk.

Officers also warn that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell which animals are brought into the country illegally. This follows the introduction of the Pet Passport scheme which enables holidaymakers to travel abroad with their pets. Pets travelling under a 'passport' are microchipped and inoculated against rabies for safety. However, there is no way of telling with the naked eye whether they are free from disease or not.

Although agencies such as trading standards have a microchip reader which can determine if an animal has been illegally landed it is important for everyone to be on their guard for the danger of disease and to report any suspicious animals or landings on 01473 584358.

Welcoming the work done protecting Suffolk's ports, Peter Monk, member of Suffolk CC's executive committee, said: 'It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking of rabies as a far-off threat. However, here in Suffolk, with the great expanse of coastline and its nearness to mainland Europe, we can never let our guard down on this deadly disease.

'Recent years have seen an increase in the size and popularity of local marinas, as well as more people bringing in animals under the Pet Passport scheme. The time is right to tighten security at a points of entry and remind people that rabies is still a worldwide kill er.'

Over a period of six days, 42 locations were visited including sailing and yacht clubs, coast guards, ferry services, ports, river tours, marinas, airfields and landing strips.

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