44yo woman in Kuching becomes 66th rabies fatality in Sarawak since July 2017

Dr Ooi Choo Huck. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Health

KUCHING, Dec 14: A 44-year-old woman in Kuching is the latest rabies victim in Sarawak.

Sarawak Health Department (JKN) director Dr Ooi Choo Huck in a statement today said the victim started showing symptoms on Nov 28 and succumbed to rabies-associated complications on Dec 12.

“Clinical samples tested have confirmed (it was a) case of rabies infection,” he said.

Dr Ooi said the victim had six domesticated cats which were never vaccinated against rabies and allowed to mix freely with wild animals, where one of them died two months ago.

According to him, the victim, who also had diabetes and high blood pressure, denied any history of animal bites.

“However, based on clinical observations, the victim had long traces of scratches and wounds, and was constantly licked by pet cats, and never received treatment or received rabies vaccination at any health facility,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Ooi said a total of 18 cases of rabies in humans including 16 deaths have been reported in Sarawak from January to Dec 13 this year.

He also said of the 18 cases this year, five cases were reported from Sibu, four cases from Serian, four cases from Kuching, three cases from Bintulu and two cases from Samarahan.

“There is an increase of four (4) cases or 28.6 per cent as compared to only 14 cases reported for the same period in 2022, which is an increase.

“The cumulative number of human rabies cases in Sarawak since the outbreak was declared in July 2017 until now is 73 cases with 66 deaths,” he said. — DayakDaily