Five-year-old girl latest rabies fatality in Sarawak, death toll at 23


State Health Department enforcement officers attempting to capture the stray dog. – File photo

KUCHING: A new rabies case has been detected in Sarawak involving a five-year-old girl from Sibu, said Ministry of Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said this is the first rabies case to be reported this year.

“On March 8, the victim was attacked and bitten by a stray dog on her face, mouth and eyelids.

“However, the bite wounds were not washed with clean water and soap immediately after the incident,” he said in a press statement today.

He said the victim was later taken to Sibu Hospital to receive treatment the same day.

“She received a shot of anti-tetanus vaccine and Rabies Immunoglobulin (RIG) as well as two shots of anti-rabies vaccine during her treatment at the hospital.

“On March 13, she was discharged in good health and received her third dose of anti-rabies vaccine on March 16,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said on March 24, the victim was taken to a Community Clinic in Sibu for fever and then to Sibu Hospital the next day due to sore throat, swallowing difficulties and experienced hallucinations.

“She was admitted for further treatment. Her condition took a turn for the worse and she passed away the next day due to rabies encephalitis,” he said.

He said a sample, which was taken from the victim, tested positive of rabies by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Medical Lab on March 29.

“The stray dog who bit her was reported to have died on March 10 but no sample was taken,” he added.

This latest case marks the 23rd rabies case in Sarawak since July 31, 2017.

The last case reported in Sarawak was on November 8, 2019.