PETALING JAYA: Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Dr Sim Kui Hian wants the health ministry to perform an in-depth study on the fatal rabies cases in the state following the deaths of four children from Serian.
According to The Borneo Post, when asked why the children had not received vaccination, Sim said he had no jurisdiction to respond.
“It pains us to lose four innocent lives to rabies, so the health ministry should study the case in detail including their hospitalisation records and medical reports,” he was reported as saying.
The four children were a brother and sister, aged four and six, from Kampung Paon, Sungai Rimu; a seven-year-old girl from Kampung Lebor; and a five-year-old girl from Kampung Ampungan.
A fifth victim, a 52-year-old man, is being warded at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).
All five victims were from Serian.
On July 22, the Health Department said Sarawak had sufficient rabies vaccine and that SGH kept a stock of vaccine for any contingency of infections.
In the Borneo Post report, Sim added that the government was providing the vaccine for free.
He said each vial of vaccine costs about RM400, and that individuals require four separate doses.
According to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee secretariat, 260 new cases of dog bite were detected in Serian and Sri Aman between July 2 and July 21.
It said this brought the cumulative number of dog bite cases since April 1 to 624.
“A total of 395 people have come forward to receive vaccination. The Sarawak Health Department is making efforts to contact those who have yet to be vaccinated,” it said in a statement on July 21.