Malaysian Health Ministry to consider rabies treatment medical research

KUCHING (Bernama) – The Malaysian Health Ministry will consider proposals from universities or the industrial sector to conduct medical science research on the treatment of Rabies, particularly in Sarawak, said its Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

He said the ministry was taking seriously the Rabies or Mad Dog epidemic, declared as a Stage Two Disaster in the state, which has recorded 16 fatalities so far.

“We are keeping track of the data with regards to the number of (Rabies) cases, percentage of animals carrying the virus and hope all dog owners who love their dogs get them vaccinated,” he told reporters after opening of the Fourth International Conference on Advances in Medical Science 2019 organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) yesterday.

Among others, his ministry is targetting to open up 15 more ‘Dog Bite’ clinics in early June in addition to the existing 10 clinics to overcome the outbreak in Sarawak.

The Federal government has also spent more than RM2 million for the rabies vaccine injected on dogs in Sarawak.

On the several police reports lodged by the public relating to the anti-Rabies operation in Padawan recently, Dr Lee said the ministry would get authorities to investigate the matter.

“The authorities and enforcement units have a standard operating procedure which requires them not to encroach on private properties, including residential areas to catch a dog,” he said in reference to the arrest of a man for allegedly obstructing a team from carrying out their duties on April 7.

Dr Lee said the ministry had special allocations to conduct medical science research that focussed on tropical diseases, including the control of dengue infection in collaboration with local universities and institutions.

This entailed papaya extract to treat dengue while medical research involving treatment of burns using tilapia fish skin had also won international accolades, he said.

Malaysian Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye speaks to medical experts after opening the Fourth International Medical Advancement in Medical Sciences organised by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) yesterday. – BERNAMA