Rabies: Over half of 78 Sarawakians infected by own pets over 7-year period

A member of the public holds his dog secure before it is vaccinated at the mass rabies vaccination programme in Taman Heng Guan, Matang. - file pic

KUCHING, March 7: A total of 78 Sarawakians was infected with rabies over the past seven years, says Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian.

Dr Sim, who is also Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government in a statement on March 4, said 73 succumbed to the disease, with two passing away after initially surviving the disease.

“Thirty-eight cases are infected due to bites from their own pet dogs, 20 cases are due to bites from stray dogs, while five cases are from bites/scratches of their pet cats.


“The highest number of deaths was recorded in 2023 with 20 dead,” he said.

According to Dr Sim, so far in 2024, about 300 to 400 animal bite cases are being recorded per week, mostly involving stray or pet cats.

He said that the Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for rabies at the moment is only 99.9 per cent effective compared to 100 per cent previously.

“The estimated number of the dog population in Sarawak is about 250,000; as such, we need everyone to play their role, do their part in our war with rabies, otherwise, more Sarawakians will succumb to the disease,” he added. — DayakDaily