Man from Batu Kawah becomes latest rabies fatality

Hands holding a lighted candle. - file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUCHING, May 31: The 26-year-old man who was warded in the Intensive Care Unit of Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) after showing symptoms of rabies died around 9am today.

Jackson Yap Foh Fong from Jalan Batu Kawa is the 17th fatality from the 18 rabies cases recorded in Sarawak since an outbreak was declared on July 17, 2017.

He was admitted to the SGH on May 29 and found to be experiencing confusion, hydrophobia, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness.

According to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a press statement yesterday, Yap had been scratched by his pet dogs but did not seek treatment for it.

“The dogs were given to him in March this year by a social media acquaintance but their immunisation and vaccination status were unknown. In the middle of March, the dogs died after showing signs of hypersalivation, unsteady gait and hydrophobia,” he said.

On May 26, the victim became weak and had difficulty breathing. He was brought to a private hospital but his condition worsened and thereafter he was referred to SGH instantly.

“His clinical samples had been taken and sent to Institute of Medical Research (IMR) for rabies test,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

The Ministry of Health advised the public against taking in or adopting dogs whose vaccination status was unknown.

“Ensure that the pets are given anti-rabies vaccination and do not let pets roam outside or mixed with wild animals,” Dr Noor Hisham reminded.

Members of the public are also advised to avoid getting scratched and bitten by dogs or wild animals. If bitten or scratched, the wound should be washed immediately with soap and running water for at least 15 minutes to get rid of the remaining saliva as much as possible.

Thereafter, they should seek treatment at the nearest government clinic or hospital.

The public have been urged to follow the instructions of the authorities including informing Veterinary Services Department Sarawak if their pets fall sick, show unusual behaviour or die suddenly.

Public cooperation is crucial to ensure rabies prevention and control measures in Sarawak can be implemented effectively and successfully. — DayakDaily