Friday, September 29

Three children infected with rabies in Sarawak


A veterinarian prepares a dosage of rabies vaccine. Reuters File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Three children including two siblings in Serian District, Sarawak have been infected with rabies.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a statement Friday said the Health Ministry received a report from the Sarawak Health Department after being notified by the Sarawak General Hospital on June 22.

He said the victims aged four, six and seven years were initially thought to suffer from viral encephalitis and showed symptoms of fever, abnormal behaviour and aggression at times, and were afraid of water.

He said the children were warded at the intensive unit where two were put on oxygen.

Further investigation found that two of the victims had a history of being bitten by a dog about a month or two before manifestation of the symptoms while it could not be ascertained whether the third victim was ever bitten by a dog, he said.

He said urine samples, saliva and skin biopsies of the victims that were sent to the Institute of Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur, tested positive for rabies virus.

Following the incidents, the ministry has taken a number of control and prevention measures including comprehensive investigation and carrying out active and passive identification as well as issuing alerts to all public and private health facilities in the localities of the district concerned, he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said an infected individual could potentially become paralysed and fall into a coma, and death if left untreated. – Bernama