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Two new rabies cases, one fatal, in Sarawak
Published on: Thursday, December 03, 2020
By: Bernama
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Two new rabies cases, one fatal, in Sarawak
Photo: AFP
KUCHING:  Rabies cases in Sarawak have increased to eight so far this year including two new reported cases, one of which, resulted in death, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, today.

He said the seventh case involved a three-year-old boy who was bitten on his face by a neighbour's dog while trying to save his grandmother’s cat from being attacked by the dog on Nov 2. 

“He was immediately admitted to Bau Hospital to receive rabies immunoglobulin injection and anti-rabies vaccine. He was healthy when discharged on Nov 6 but from Nov 13 until 15, he had high fever, poor appetite and hydrophobia, was physically weak and restless, and showed aggressive behaviour,” he said in a statement.

“When the boy's condition deteriorated, he was admitted to Sarawak General Hospital (HUS) on Nov 16 for further treatment and confirmed to be infected with rabies on Nov 25 Nov through a lab test done by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR).

“The dog (that bit the child) had been caught by a team from the Bau District Council on Nov 3 and confirmed to be positive for the rabies virus on Nov 18,” he said, adding that the boy was still being treated at HUS and in stable condition.

The eighth case involved a 58-year-old man who died on Nov 25, with the IMR diagnosis confirming that he had been infected with rabies meningoencephalitis, four days after he was transferred to HUS from Lundu Hospital.

Dr Noor Hisham said in this case, the man was admitted to Lundu Hospital on Nov 19 Nov after complaining of a sore throat with difficulty to eat and drink, besides having other symptoms and feeling weak for three days before being transferred to HUS when his condition deteriorated.

“He had a history of being bitten by a stray dog two years ago while out hunting in the jungle but he did seek treatment at any health facility,” he said, adding that the man had five pet dogs but all were confirmed to be negative for rabies by the the Sarawak Veterinary Department.

He said these additional rabies cases brought the total number to 30 with 28 deaths in Sarawak since the epidemic was declared in the state on July 31, 2017.

“There are only two cases who are still alive and both are children who received early treatment. (This shows) that death from rabies virus infection can be avoided,” said Dr Noor Hisham who advised the public to take rabies-prevention measures.

The measures include washing the part of the body bitten by a dog or any other animal with running water and soap for 15 minutes to get rid of any remnant of the animal’s saliva, and seeking immediate treatment at the nearest health clinic or hospital.

Also ensure that pet dogs receive the anti-rabies injection each year and prevent them from mixing with stray dogs or other stray animals, and send the pet dogs or cats that show unusual behaviour for immediate treatment at the veterinary clinic or report it to the Veterinary Department.

The public can also report to the local authority if they see stray dogs wandering in their residential areas and should always maintain good personal hygiene like washing the hands properly with soap and water after touching their pet animals


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