45 yo woman from Selangau is latest rabies fatality in Sarawak

Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

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KUCHING, May 24: Ministry of Health (MOH) today revealed a 45-year-old woman from Selangau is the latest victim to succumb to rabies in Sarawak this year.

Its director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the victim, from Rh Janggau, Sungai Tepus in Selangau, had a history of being bitten on the left hand by her pet dog on March 9, 2021 and had received medical treatment in Tepus health clinic on the same day.

During the medical treatment in Tepus health clinic, an anti-tetanus jab was administered on her and a follow-up appointment made.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the case has dropped out from the follow-up treatment, and after been successfully traced, the case was given the first dose of anti-rabies vaccine on April 29, 2021,

“On May 22, 2021, when attending to get the second dose injection, the case also complained of having eye pain, body fatigue and numbness on the left hand, and was admitted to a ward in Sibu Hospital for treatment.

“Following that, clinical samples were also taken and sent to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) laboratory and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) for rabies virus detection test, and the result came out positive for rabies on May 5, 2021.

At the same time the patient’s health condition deteriorated and she passed away on May 6, 2021 at 7.13 am and diagnosed with rabies encephalitis,” he said in a press statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham noted, the additional new case brings the total number of rabies cases recorded in Sarawak for 2021 to three cases.

“Since rabies was declared in Sarawak on July 1, 2017, the State recorded a total of 34 cases with 32 fatalities and the only two surviving cases involve children who suffer from severe neurological complications,” he added.

On the same note, Dr Noor Hisham assured that MOH and the Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) will continue to work and ensure that rabies prevention and control measures among the population are being implemented.

“Among the prevention and control measures taken are such as case treatment, administration of anti-rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin to individuals suspected of being infected with the rabies virus based on risk assessment and risk communication

“However, Sarawakians are requested to cooperate and comply with all advice and instructions issued by the government and the authorities to ensure that the rabies epidemic in Sarawak can be eradicated,” he said. — DayakDaily