ANN/THE STAR – The Sarawak Health Department detected another death, believed to be from a rabies infection, of a person who failed to seek medical treatment.
The victim is believed to have contracted the disease while handling the carcass of a pet dog, director Dr Ooi Choo Huck said.
He said the latest case was the fourth fatality reported from August to September 17 this year.
Of the four cases, one involved being scratched by a pet cat and two more were bitten by a pet dog.
“All four victims did not seek treatment at any health facility after being bitten, scratched or handling animal carcasses,” Dr Ooi said.
He said 15 deaths from the 17 rabies cases were recorded in the Malaysian state between January 1 and September 17 this year.
Dr Ooi said of the 17 cases reported, five were from Sibu division, Serian division (four), Kuching division (three), Bintulu division (three) and Samarahan division (two).
He said the total number of rabies cases (17) this year was a significant increase of 70 per cent compared with only 10 cases reported for the same period last year.
“The cumulative number of human rabies cases in Sarawak reported since the outbreak was declared in July 2017 until now is 72, with 65 deaths,” he said.
The public is advised to seek immediate treatment at the nearest health facility after being bitten or scratched by a pet.
“The public is also advised not to handle the carcasses of animals with unknown infection status, including pets, and to report to local authorities for the carcass to be handled,” he added.