Sarawak records 9 deaths due to rabies cases this year, says Minister

Dr Rundi's slide on fighting rabies at the DUN sitting today (May 23, 2023). Photo credit: Ukas

KUCHING, May 23: Sarawak has recorded nine deaths out of the 11 recorded rabies cases, says Minister for Food Industry, Commodity and Regional Development Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom.

He said the 59 deaths out of 366 rabid dog bites recorded since 2017 were due to delays or victims not seeking treatment.

“So, I appeal to the public and the authorities to work together in full cooperation. Rabies (death) is preventable. Once you get bitten, immediately, you must get treatment.

“I have my own officer who got bitten by a dog at a petrol station. He quickly went to the hospital, and today he’s attending the Dewan.

“So, it is very important to take such a step,” said Dr Rundi in his ministerial winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

As of May 8, a total of 232,198 anti-rabies vaccinations have been administered, but Sarawak continues to face challenges as the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) receives an average of 250 animal bite notifications every month.

Since 2017, 72 areas in Sarawak have been declared as rabies-infected areas, including Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Sibu, Kapit, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

Meanwhile, Dr Rundi said the Sarawak government is committed to combating rabies with funds allocated for the necessary manpower, logistics and resources.

“Part of our action plan is also targeted towards maintaining collaboration and communication with our bordering neighbours in Sabah, Brunei and Indonesia, to monitor border control and the migration of animals,” he added. — DayakDaily