Rabies claims 10th victim in Sarawak

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

KUCHING, June 1: A 21-year-old woman from Kampung Koran Bari in Serian, Sarawak, has died from rabies, bringing the death toll in the state to 10 since the outbreak in June last year.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest victim was bitten on her right arm while trying to bathe a stray dog on April 20.

“She sought treatment at Serian Hospital, where she was given the anti-tetanus injection on the same day. The patient was advised by medical staff to return the next day for further treatment. However, she did not show up,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a press statement today.

On May 20, the victim went to Sarawak General Hospital’s (SGH) Emergency and Trauma Department, complaining of pain and weak right shoulder for the past four days.

She was immediately placed in the isolation ward for the next few days, but her condition worsened, with signs of hallucinations, fever and loss of reflexes on both hands.

She died on May 31 at 5.01am. Clinical samples sent to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) confirmed she had rabies encephalitis.

Investigations by the health ministry revealed that the stray dog was brought home and kept by the victim’s father three weeks before the attack.

The dog has never received any anti-rabies vaccination.

Of the 11 rabies cases reported in the state so far, only one survived — the seven-year-old boy was discharged from SGH on Jan 31 and is being treated at home.

So far, 31 areas in Serian, Sri Aman, Kuching, Samarahan, Sarikei and Lundu divisions have been declared rabies-infected by the Sarawak government.

The latest positive rabies area was declared on May 28 in Kampung Selarat, Lundu. — DayakDaily