Sarawak records sixth fatality due to rabies this year

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

KUCHING: A sixteen-year-old girl is the latest rabies casualty in Sarawak, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

In a statement today, he said the victim was the 28th rabies case in the state since the outbreak was declared on July 31, 2017 and the sixth casualty this year.

“She was admitted to Sarawak General Hospital on Nov 10 after having a fever for three days; was weak in the lower limbs and showed aggressive behaviour. She also suffered from aerophobia and hydrophobia.

“The victim passed away on Nov 11 at 3.45 pm with a diagnosis of rabies encephalitis. The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH) would like to extend its condolences to the family members of the deceased,” he said.

He said the victim was diagnosed with rabies virus on Nov 12, 2020 through laboratory tests conducted by the Institute of Medical Research (IMR).

Dr Noor Hisham said investigations have found no history of dog or other animal bites occurring in the case.

“The case only had a scratch mark on her right leg but her family members could not provide details about it.

“She has kept four cats and one dog. All of the pets have never been vaccinated but until now, they are in good health and there has been no change in behaviour,” he said.

He said, MoH and the State Health Department would continue to monitor the rabies situation in Sarawak and share the latest related information to the Sarawak Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) and DVS Malaysia.

“This is to ensure that rabies prevention and control measures are implemented promptly and comprehensively.

“The cooperation of all Sarawakians is also needed to follow the advice of the government and the authorities to ensure that rabies in the state can be contained,” he said.