Medical association concerned about S’wak public apathy to rabies


File photo of dogs roaming freely in a housing area in Sibu.

KUCHING (May 26): The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Sarawak laments that a lot of people are still taking rabies for granted although it is a very deadly disease.

As a reminder, its chairman Dr Liew Shan Fap pointed out that Sarawak has recorded 66 cases of human rabies and 59 deaths since the outbreak in 2017.

He cautioned that the death rate due to rabies among humans is very high in Sarawak, and the number of rabies cases has markedly increased this year despite the various measures taken by the authorities.

He pointed out that from January 1 till May 15 this year, Sarawak has recorded 11 rabies cases and nine deaths, which is a worrying fact.

“We must stress that rabies death is 100 per cent preventable.

“In the Sarawak setting, the single most important aspect that still has room for improvement is public awareness.

“Many are still not aware how deathly rabies is and many are not familiar with treatment plan for rabies post exposure,” he said in his opening remark at ‘The dog bite kills rabies awareness public forum’ at MBKS Auditorium today.

Dr Liew also noted that some pet owners do not follow the local council’s recommendations or regulations, and there are many measures that could be taken to improve this.

“A lot of people are still taking the disease for granted, taking it easy. This is not good for us because in order to eradicate rabies, everyone has roles to play.

“The most important party is the public. Despite the government being able to do a lot, without the cooperation from the public, it is unlikely that it can eradicate rabies in Sarawak,” he said.