Latest rabies fatality brings death toll to 19 in Sarawak

A Sarawak Veterinary Department officer vaccinates a cat against rabies in Kampung Lebor, Gedong Serian, July 5, 2017. — Bernama pic
A Sarawak Veterinary Department officer vaccinates a cat against rabies in Kampung Lebor, Gedong Serian, July 5, 2017. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, June 13 — The Ministry of Health today confirmed one new rabies case in Sarawak involving a 61-year-old woman from Pending here who died yesterday, bringing the number of cases to 19 in the state so far.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the woman was confirmed to be infected with the rabies virus via a lab test conducted by the Institute for Medical Research yesterday.

“With sadness, it is announced that the victim passed away on June 12, 2019 at 10.47pm while undergoing treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital (HUS),” he said in a statement here today.

Dr Noor Hisham said this case had a history of the woman being bitten on her right thumb by a stray dog on last April 29 after trying to chase the dog away.

The victim sought treatment at HUS on June 8 and was placed at the Contagious Disease Ward and given the rabies immunoglobulin (RIG).

Dr Noor Hisham said this case brought the number of confirmed rabies cases involving humans in Sarawak to 19 as at June 12, 2019 since the rabies epidemic was declared on July 1, 2017.

Of the 19 rabies cases, 18 were fatal while three of the cases were reported this year.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Sarawak Health Department had issued a reminder to all medical practitioners in the state to ensure that the management of animal-bite cases including by dogs adhere to the Animal Bite Case Management Guideline.

He said cases at risk and failure to get follow-up treatment should be immediately informed to the nearest Health Office to facilitate detection.

“To ensure overall effectiveness of the rabies virus infection control and prevention measures and to make Sarawak rabies-free, the public should follow the directives of the authorities and cooperate in the implementation of the control and prevention programme,” he added. — Bernama

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