Wednesday, August 21

Kuching man latest rabies victim in Sarawak, bringing total to seven

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OUCH!: A pet owner holds her dog while it is being given a dose of rabies vaccine during a rabies vaccination programme held at KPCA People’s Centra, Kenyalang Park, Kuching. The half-day event from 9am to 2pm yesterday was jointly organised by the Sarawak Veterinary Association, Sarawak government, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) and Sarawak Society of Prevention to Cruelty of Animals (SSPCA). Enquiries and tip-off on rabies can be made to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee by calling 082-612949/611607. — Photo by Tan Song Wei

KUCHING: Sarawak has recorded another human rabies victim after a  man, 59, from Jalan Batu Kawa-Matang was confirmed yesterday to be infected with the rabies virus.

State Disaster Management Committee, through a press statement, said they were notified yesterday of this latest case by the Health Department following a positive lab test on Friday.

He is the seventh rabies victim after the last one was detected in August last year involving a seven-year-old boy from Kampung Kuala in Gedong.

The committee added that the man had a dog bite history on Nov 27, and sought treatment at a private clinic the same day. He was, however, not referred to any government medical facility to receive vaccination.

“On Jan 20, the man experienced pain and weak limbs, and was admitted to a private hospital on Jan 24. The next day, he was referred to Sarawak General Hospital for further treatment after showing signs of hydrophobia, hallucination and aggression.”

The committee also said the state Health Department yesterday issued a warning letter to the private clinic for failing to report the dog bite case and failing to refer the case to any government clinic/hospital.

It also reminded medical practitioners in private clinics and hospitals in Sarawak to adhere to the Guidelines on Handling Dog Bites and Other Animal Bites, and to refer cases to government medical facilities.

It said the state Health Department also issued letters yesterday reminding all private clinics and hospitals to immediately report dog bite cases and other animals to the dearest health office in order to save lives.

Five persons including two young siblings from Serian have so far died from rabies since June last year. The sixth case,  a seven-year-old boy from Kampung Kuala in Gedong, is still being treated in SGH.

As of Jan 26, 28 areas in Serian, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Kuching and Sarikei have been gazetted as rabies-infected areas.

Active Case Detection to detect dog bite cases has been implemented in rabies-infected areas in Sarawak, which  involves probing 78,465 people from 20,301 households on dog bite history. A total 6,158 bite cases have also been detected in these areas, and have been given treatment. Health education activities regarding rabies have also been conducted in these areas.

It added the state Health Department would enhance cooperation with the state government and Veterinary Services Department as well as other relevant agencies to ensure steps on prevention and control of rabies infection could be implemented thoroughly.