Fourth rabies case confirmed in Sarawak

Noor-Hisham-rabiesKUCHING: A new case of rabies or the mad dog disease virus was detected in a five-year-old girl from Kampung Ampungan in Serian, Sarawak, raising the total number of cases to four so far.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said medical test results showed that the girl tested positive for the virus after she was bitten by a dog on May 27 in Kampung Saroban, located in a 10km radius from the village where the third case was detected.

He said the child showed symptoms such as fever, painful muscle spasms in the left arm and lethargy on July 3, before she was taken to the Serian Hospital and later referred to the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) here.

“The case was tested positive through the laboratory tests on July 11. She is now being treated at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the SGH due to her critical condition.

“As for the third rabies case, the child (a seven-year-old girl), who is being treated at the ICU of the same hospital, is still in critical condition,” he said in a statement here today.

On July 4, a brother and sister, aged four and six, from Kampung Paon, Sungai Rimu in Serian, died at the SGH after they were confirmed to have contracted rabies.

Noor Hisham said the Serian Health Office and the state health department had been conducting a mass detection programme on the virus at 86 settlements in the district involving 3,284 houses, and had interviewed 7,583 people on their history of dog bites.

“A total of 92 cases of being bitten by dogs had been detected in the district and these people had been treated. Educational programmes pertaining to the rabies have also been given to the residents,” he said.

Noor Hisham also advised members of the public in the affected areas to seek immediate treatment at the nearest clinic or hospital if they had been bitten by dogs, and to get anti-rabies vaccination for their pet dogs.

According to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, the Veterinary Services Department has vaccinated 1,183 pets in seven villages in Serian involving 241 dogs, 929 cats and 13 other animals.