88,606 animal bites recorded in Sarawak since 2017

Tiang visiting exhibition booths at the conference.

By William Isau

SIBU, Sept 27: The average life expectancy in Sarawak is 76.5 years. However. the State is still faced with the threat of rabies and many other zoonotic diseases like malaria and leptospirosis.

“The huge number of animal bites recorded daily is also alarming. From 2017 till today, there were 88,606 animal bites recorded by health facilities. Not all of these are bitten by rabid animals, but this high number is still a concern,” said Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day Asia-Pacific Conference on Zoonotic and Neglected Tropical Diseases here, he pointed out that the total number of human rabies cases in Sarawak remains high.

“The total number of human rabies cases in Sarawak is 72 with 65 (90.3 per cent) deaths since 2017. I sincerely hope this number will not increase in the near future,’ he added.

His speech text was read out by his representative, Deputy Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Michael Tiang.

The conference, the Premier said, was thus timely and relevant to Sarawak.

“For the doctors in Sarawak, these diseases are encountered in their daily work and they have real-world experience in treating and combating these diseases. By sharing this experience and learning from experts from other countries, I am sure it will enhance the control and treatment of these diseases,” he stressed.

About 400 participants from Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and overseas are attending the conference.

The Sarawak government is organising the event in collaboration with Segi University, Sarawak Health Department, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), Universiti Malaya, and Hainan Medical University. — DayakDaily