Sarawak records 14,395 animal bite cases in 2023, averaging 350 weekly or 50 daily

An anti-rabies operation will be launched in Kuching. Photo credit: Ukas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 28: This year, Sarawak has witnessed a concerning surge in animal bites, totalling 14,394 incidents—an average of 350 cases weekly or 50 cases daily.

Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian highlighted that from July 1, 2017 to Nov 18, 2023, the Sarawak Health Department has received a total of 94,307 animal bite reports.

Dr Sim, who is also Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government, expressed deep concern over the alarming increase in human rabies cases.

“There have been 72 cases of human rabies, with 17 cases reported in 2023 as of Nov 18, compared with 14 cases in 2022 and 10 cases in 2021,” he said when delivering his winding up speech for his Ministry at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today.

To date, Dr Sim pointed out that there are only seven survivors since the rabies outbreak began.

As part of the effort to reduce the human rabies cases, he said the Sarawak Health Department has increased the number of post bite clinics from 31 facilities before June 2023 to a total of 107 facilities, all of which are equipped with anti-rabies vaccines.

These include 78 Federal Ministry of Health facilities and 29 private facilities.

“In the meantime, the Sarawak Health Department has just approved another 41 health clinics as post bite clinics with plans to commence operations by the end of this year once training has been given to the staff and the vaccine stock is supplied,” he added. — DayakDaily