First rabies case in Sarawak this year

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By Jack Lapidus

Ministry of Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah  today confirmed a five-year-old girl died due to a rabies infection on March 26 at the Sibu Hospital.

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

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

The child was taken to Sibu Hospital for treatment the same day where she received anti-tetanus vaccine, Rabies Immunoglobulin (RIG) and two doses of anti-rabies vaccine.

She was discharged on March 13 in good health and on March 16, received the third dose of anti-rabies vaccine.

However, the victim was once again taken to a community clinic in Sibu for fever on March 24 and subsequently to Sibu Hospital the next day after suffering from sore throat, swallowing difficulties and hallucinations.

“She was admitted for further treatment. Her condition worsened and she died the following day due to rabies encephalitis,” he said.

The samples taken from the victim and sent to the medical lab at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) turned up positive for rabies.

Dr Noor Hisham said this is the first rabies case reported this year and the 23rd case in Sarawak since the rabies outbreak was declared on July 31, 2017.

“The last case reported in Sarawak was on November 8, 2019,” he added.

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