Rabies: Sarawak records nine deaths this year - Health DG

16 May 2023 12:46pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

KUCHING - A total of 11 rabies cases among humans including nine deaths were reported in Sarawak from Jan 1 to May 15, this year.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said the total number of rabies cases among humans in Sarawak since the outbreak was declared in July 2017, was 66 cases with 59 deaths.

He said that of the 11 cases reported this year, four cases each from Sibu Division and Serian Division, two cases from Kuching Division and one case from Bintulu Division.

"Eight cases reported this year have a history of being bitten by a dog, two cases have a history of being bitten or scratched by a cat, while one case is unknown to family members, whether the case has a history of being bitten or scratched by an animal,” he said in a statement here today.

Dr Muhammad Radzi said rabies is a disease of the nervous system caused by the rabies virus infection.

"The virus is found in the saliva of infected animals and can infect humans through bites or during direct contact with the saliva of infected animals, either through wounds or claw marks by domestic or wild cats. It can cause death if the infection spreads to the brain,” he said.

He also advised the public to always take preventive measures to avoid being infected with the rabies virus.

"If bitten or scratched or touched by animal saliva, the wound must be washed immediately using running water and soap for at least 15 minutes and immediately seek treatment at the nearest health clinic or hospital," he said.

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Dr Muhammad Radzi also said that a total of 31 facilities of the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) throughout Sarawak have been identified to provide animal bite treatment services including the provision of anti-rabies vaccines. - BERNAMA