KUALA LUMPUR: A 26-year-old man from Kuching has died of rabies, bringing the total to 17 deaths from the time the outbreak nationwide was announced on July 1 last year, says the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said this recent case, reported on Thursday, was confirmed the following day after tests were done.
This was the 18th case reported since last July 1, he added.
“The ministry wishes to remind the public, especially those in Sarawak, to avoid taking or picking up dogs or other animals where the animals’ status of rabies vaccination is unknown, even if it is found within the neighbourhood,” he said in a statement yesterday.
This is because the animals could have been infected with the rabies virus but are in the incubation period and show no symptoms yet, said Dr Noor Hisham.
“To prevent the spread of rabies, people are advised to wash the part of the body bitten by a dog or wild animal with running water and soap for at least 15 minutes.
“This is to remove the saliva remnants,” he said.
After that, they should get treatment at the nearest health clinic or hospital, he added.
Sarawak is still not free from rabies; from July 1 last year to May 30, the Sarawak government had declared 62 areas in 11 divisions as rabies infection areas, he said, adding that only Limbang is free from rabies.
“People need to ensure their pet dogs receive anti-rabies vaccination every year and that their pets are kept within the house and not allowed to mingle with other wild dogs or animals,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said the people’s cooperation is needed to control the stray dog population in the country.
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