Don’t twist facts in rabies outbreak, opposition told

drrr-subramaniam-rabies-vaccineKUALA LUMPUR: Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam today warned opposition parties in Sarawak not to blow the rabies outbreak in the state out of proportion.

He said some opposition MPs had tried to create the impression that vaccines supplied to the 20 rabies-affected areas in the state were insufficient.

“Vaccines for humans and animals differ, and are given based on current standard operating procedure (SOP).

“There is no shortage of vaccines and the allegation that we gave out false information is also not true,” he told a media conference at Parliament House here.

Subramaniam hit out at the opposition for exploiting the rabies outbreak for political capital and to create negative perceptions of doctors on duty who allegedly refused to give the vaccines.

“Anyone bitten by a dog in a rabies-affected area will be given the vaccine immediately but for a person bitten outside such an area it will depend on the doctor’s evaluation,” he said.

He said 8,000 doses of vaccines for humans had been supplied to Sarawak and 6,000 doses remained available after 2,000 doses were used up on people bitten by dogs.

“The vaccines for animals are the responsibility of the veterinary services department.

“Based on the latest information, 17,800 animals have been vaccinated, most of them pets,” he said.

Yesterday, the 5th rabies victim in Sarawak, Tinding Lambang, 52, died at the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching last night.

The first victims were two siblings, Monica Mazlan, 6, and Jackson Mazlan, 4, who died on July 4.

The third victim, Alicesa Lorenna Nody, 7, died on July 13 and she was followed by Florancesia Edward, 5, on July 17.

Subramaniam said the 20 rabies-affected areas in the divisions of Serian, Sri Aman and Kuching would continue to be monitored and could only be declared rabies-free if no cases were detected after two years.