KUCHING, May 25: A toddler from Kampung Sandong became the latest casualty of rabies encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain) in the state.
The child’s death brings the number of fatalities from an outbreak of rabies which began in Serian in June last year to nine.
In a statement, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the latest case is a foreign national aged three years nine months.
The child entered Kuching, Sarawak on a social visit pass with her mother in September 2017.
Investigations revealed that the child was bitten by a stray dog sometime early April at their housing area in Kampung Sandong.
The parents immediately took their child to a nearby government health clinic for treatment, including anti- tetanus (ATT).
Nor Hisham said on May 3, the child was brought to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) after five days of continuous high fever and developed symptoms related to rabies such as high fever, anxiety and confusion.
While in treatment, the child begin to show clinical signs of rabies such as hydrophobia and difficulty in swallowing.
“Clinical samples sent to the Medical Research Institute on May 8 confirmed the child had rabies. The victim was diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis, and his condition worsened despite receiving treatment at the hospital,” he said.
To date, Sarawak has recorded 10 cases of human rabies contraction, with nine of them including the latest victim, succumbing to the virus, while another person has been discharged from SGH and is now recovering at home.
As of May 8, this year, 30 areas in five divisions in Sarawak have been declared as rabies-infected by the state Government.
They are Serian (21), Kuching (4), Samarahan (3) and one each in Sri Aman and Sarikei.