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16-year-old girl latest rabies fatality in Sarawak

8 month ago, 21-Nov-2020

KUCHING (Nov 21): A 16-year-old girl who died on Nov 11 was confirmed as the sixth person to die of rabies in Sarawak this year, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today.

He said the girl died at 3.45pm on Nov 11 at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), and was confirmed to be infected with the rabies virus through laboratory tests conducted by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR) the next day.

The girl was admitted to SGH on Nov 10 after having fever for three days, weakness in the lower limbs and showing aggressive behaviour.

“Investigations have found no history of dog or other animal bites in this case. She only had a scratch mark on her right leg but her family members could not give details about it. She had four 4 cats and one dog. All of the pets have never been vaccinated but until now, the pets are in good health and there has been no change in behavior,” said Dr Noor Hisham in a statement.

Following this latest fatality, he said the latest case brought the total rabies deaths in the state this year to five and total accumulative number of fatal rabies cases in Sarawak to 27 since rabies outbreak was declared on July 1, 2017.

The latest case occurred a month after the fifth fatality involving a 42-year-old man who died at the SGH on Oct 20.

Dr Noor Hisham said the Ministry of Health and Sarawak Health Department (JKN Sarawak) will continue to monitor the rabies situation in Sarawak.

He added they will share the latest related information to the Sarawak Department of Veterinary Services (DVS Sarawak) and DVS Malaysia to ensure that rabies prevention and control measures are implemented promptly and comprehensively.

“The cooperation of all Sarawakians is very much needed, by fully complying with all the advice from the government and the authorities to ensure that the problem of rabies in the state can be controlled. Do not let pets roam or dispose of them in public areas,” he said.

He also advised the public to seek immediate treatment at a nearby health clinic or hospital if bitten by animal.

Those who are bitten by a dog or other animal must wash the bitten body parts with running water and soap for at least 15 minutes to remove the saliva, he said again.

“Make sure your pet dogs have received anti-rabies vaccination every year from the nearest animal clinic and avoid your pets mixing it with other dogs or wild animals;

“If a pet dog or cat is found to have change in behavior including aggressiveness, seek immediate treatment at a veterinary clinic and report to the nearest Veterinary Services Department. Report to the Local Authority if there are stray dogs roaming in your area of ??residence,” he added.

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