KUCHING, May 30: One new suspected case of rabies has been reported here involving a 26-year-old man who is currently receiving treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed in a press statement today that the man was scratched by his pet dogs but did not seek treatment for it.
“The dogs were given to the man 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 man became weak and had difficulty breathing,” he added.
The victim was brought to a private hospital but his condition got worse. On May 29 (yesterday), he was referred to the SGH and found to be experiencing confusion, hydrophobia, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness.
“He is now under close monitoring in the hospital and clinical samples have been taken and sent to Institute of Medical Research (IMR) for rabies test,” he said.
Sarawak has recorded 17 rabies cases, including 16 deaths, since an outbreak was declared on July 17, 2017. The latest death occurred on Jan 18 this year.
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,” he reminded.
“Avoid from getting scratched and bitten by dogs or wild animals. If bitten or scratched, wash the wound immediately with soap and running water for at least 15 minutes to get rid of the remaining saliva as much as possible.
“Thereafter, seek treatment at the nearest government clinic or hospital,” he added.
Dr Noor Hisham also reminded the public to follow the instructions of the authorities including informing the Veterinary Services Department Sarawak if their pets fell sick, showed unusual behaviour or died suddenly.
“The cooperation from the public is very much needed to ensure measures on prevention and control of rabies in Sarawak can succeed,” he said. — DayakDaily