Wednesday, October 20

34-year-old woman from Sibu latest rabies fatality in Sarawak

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Dr Noor Hisham said an investigation found the area where the victim stayed was nearby rubbish disposal site, where there are many free-roaming dogs. – File photo

SIBU (Oct 22): A 34-year-old woman from Sibu has become the latest victim in the state to succumb to rabies this year, says Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham.

In a press release today, he said the victim was admitted to Sibu Hospital on Oct 12 due to weakness in both legs for five days, before being admitted to the ward.

“The victim died on Oct 18 at 11.30am and was diagnosed with rabies encephalitis.

“She was confirmed to be infected by rabies virus through a lab test carried out by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) on Oct 19,” Dr Noor Hisham said.

He said an investigation found that the area where the victim stayed was nearby rubbish disposal site, where there were many free-roaming dogs.

Dr Noor Hisham said the victim had been bitten by her pet dog towards the end of 2018, and did not seek any medical attention at any medical facility, Dr Noor Hisham said.

The pet roamed freely and mixed with other animals, and had never been given anti-rabies vaccination, he added.

Dr Noor Hisham said this animal had been disposed by members of the public following an incident whereby the canine had bitten another individual.

However, no samples were sent to the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak for confirmation of rabies infection on the dog concerned, he added.

He said the latest human rabies case had brought the total number of cases to four in Sarawak this year.

The cumulative number of rabies cases in the state as of Oct 21 since rabies outbreak was declared in Sarawak on July 31, 2017 stood at 26 cases, he said.