Health DG: Teen girl is sixth rabies fatality in state this year

Rabies can be spread through animal bites. — file pic

KUCHING, Nov 21: A 16-year old girl is the latest victim to succumb to rabies encephalitis in Sarawak, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

According to Dr Noor Hisham, the girl, who also suffered from aerophobia and hydrophobia, died at 3.45pm, at Sarawak General Hospital (HUS), on Nov 11, 2020, and was diagnosed with rabies encephalitis.

“The girl was admitted to HUS on Nov 10, after having a fever for three-days, experiencing weakness in the lower limbs, including showing aggressive behavior and was diagnosed with rabies virus on Nov 12, 2020, through laboratory tests conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR).

“Investigations found that there is no history of dog or other animal bites in this case, where the girl only had scratched marks on her right leg, but the family members could not say more about it,” he said in a press statement today.

Dr Noor Hisham noted, the girl has four cats and one dog, and all of her pets have never been vaccinated, but until now, the pets are in good health and there is no change in behavior.

“This brings the total number of rabies in humans in Sarawak to six cases for this year, and the 28th case since the outbreak of rabies was declared in Sarawak on July 31, 2017,” he added.

On the same note, Dr. Noor Hisham also assured that the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Sarawak Health Department (JKNS) will continue to monitor the rabies situation in the state, and will share the latest related information to the Sarawak Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and DVS Malaysia in ensuring that rabies prevention and control measures are implemented promptly and comprehensively.

“The cooperation from all Sarawakian is very much needed, which is by following all the government and the authority’s advice to ensure that the rabies issue in the state can be controlled, and at the same time, please do not let the pets roam freely or disposed of them in public areas,” he said. –DayakDaily.