53-year-old woman latest rabies victim

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUCHING: A 53-year-old woman from Selangau, Sibu has become the latest victim to die of rabies in Sarawak this year.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the woman was admitted to Sibu Hospital on Dec 8 after having symptoms of shortness of breath and cough, and she had complained of having a sore throat, fever and experienced weakness for three days after being warded.

“The victim died on Dec 15 after being diagnose with rabies encephalitis. Laboratory test by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) confirmed that the test was positive for rabies on Dec 17,” he said today.

He said the deceased was bitten by her pet dog on the finger on October this year, but she did not seek treatment at any health facility.

“The dog had died a few days after bitting the woman and the cause of the dog’s death was unknown. It was also not reported to the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS),” he said.

He said the victim also had other pets including other dogs and cats but all were not being vaccinated for the anti-rabies vaccine.

“With the addition of the latest case, the total number of rabies cases involving humans in Malaysia for the year has increased to nine.

“While the total accumulative number of rabies cases in Sarawak since the rabies outbreak was declared on July 1, 2017 to date is 31 with 29 fatalities,” he said.

He said there are only two cases that are still alive and both are children who received early treatment.

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Dr Noor Hisham has extended his condolences to the family members of the deceased.