Rabies: 13th human fatality confirmed

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUCHING, Dec 6: The public is reminded once again to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from rabies seriously following the death of a 21-year-old man from Kota Sentosa on Tuesday.

Emphasising this, Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said with the latest case, the number of human rabies fatalities in Sarawak since the declaration of rabies outbreak on June 30 last year now stood at 13 out of 14 cases.

“The patient died of Rabies Encephalomyelitis on Dec 4 at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH),” he confirmed in a statement to extend condolences to the families of the victim.

The victim was bitten by a stray dog on Oct 4 but did not wash the wound nor seek medical treatment. He was admitted to the SGH on Nov 24 when his legs became weak.

Dr Noor Hisham reassured there was commitment from the Ministry of Health to enhance cooperation with the state government, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), other agencies and neighbouring countries such as Indonesia to ensure rabies prevention and control measures were implemented thoroughly and effectively.

Meanwhile, a sole survivor who was discharged from SGH early this year is being treated at home with neurology complications.

As of Dec 4, the state government has declared 54 areas in 11 divisions as rabies-infected zones and only Limbang is still free from the disease.

Among the measures that should be taken during this critical period include washing animal saliva from bite wounds with running water and soap for 15 minutes; seeking immediate medical assistance; making sure pet dogs has been vaccinated, alerting the authorities on the presence of stray dogs with suspicious behaviour, preventing pets from mingling with stray dogs and cats, and always maintaining a high level of personal hygience such as proper handwashing using water and soap after touching pets. — DayakDaily