KUCHING: A 52-year-old man from Kampung Remun in Serian has become the latest rabies victim, bringing the total number of victims in the state who have contracted the deadly disease, to five.
This was confirmed by Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who said laboratory tests had shown that the man, who had a history of being bitten by a dog in early May, had contracted the disease.
“On July 11, he suffered weak limbs, numbness and backache as well as confusion and was admitted to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) for treatment,” he said in a statement yesterday.
The man is the oldest victim so far while the four other younger victims have died from the disease.
Meanwhile, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) secretariat said 164 new dog bite cases, which happened since July 2, were detected.
“Of the 164 cases, 18 of them happened today (yesterday). This brings the cumulative number of dog bite cases since April 1 to 447,” said a spokesperson in a statement, which was issued following a meeting chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, who is also SDMC chairman, at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.
The spokesperson also noted that 317 people had been given rabies vaccinations and that the state Health Department was presently trying to contact those who have yet to come for vaccination.
During the meeting, the police through its MPV Unit, have also been instructed to patrol and monitor the rabies-infected areas within a 10km radius of the affected areas and to inform the Serian District Council (SDC) and Padawan Municipal Council (PMC) if they found any stray dogs wandering in their midst.
“The meeting also decided to establish a buffer zone (restricted zone for the outbreak) between Siburan and Kuching to curb the transmission of rabies among dogs from entering Kuching Division.”
Members of the public in the Mile 10 area in Padawan areas are urged to bring their dogs to the vaccination centre where free vaccination will be provided by the state Veterinary Services Department (JPVS) at Dewan Masyarakat Batu 10 in Kota Padawan from 10am to 4pm today (July 20).
The spokesperson added that Uggah had also called on pet owners to keep their pets indoors to ensurethey do not get close to stray dogs.
He also reminded people who might have been bitten by dogs in the rabies-infected areas to immediately clean their wounds with running water and soap for 15 minutes at home before heading to the nearest clinic or hospital for further treatment and vaccination.
Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian was also present at the meeting.