Friday, December 3

Sarawak on high alert for rabies

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KUCHING: The Sarawak Health Department is on alert for rabies, even though there have been no cases reported in the state so far.

Its director Datu Dr Zulkifli Jantan said the measure was taken following the rabies outbreak in Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

Meanwhile, it was reported that none of the people bitten by dogs in Perlis, Kedah and Penang have been infected by rabies.

However, 10 of 39 dogs which bit them have tested positive for the disease.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the victims were given proper treatment, including anti-rabies vaccinations, at hospitals.

“They are in stable condition and show no symptoms of rabies infection. They are still being monitored,” he was quoted saying by a national daily.

Dr Noor Hisham said the respective state health departments had also taken necessary preventative and control measures by issuing health alerts to doctors.

He said the departments were also preparing sufficient rabies vaccines and antibodies.

“Up to last year, Malaysia was free from rabies. The last case reported involving humans was in 1998, while the last rabies case, affecting animals, was in 1999,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

“However, countries in South-East Asia have still been reporting cases of rabies from time to time,” he said.

He advised those bitten by dogs to seek medical treatment immediately.

“Report to the local authority if there are any stray dogs in your residential area,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

“And, maintain proper hygiene by washing hands with soap and water after being in contact with pet dogs,” he added.