PETALING JAYA: A 46-year-old man who was infected with rabies has died in Kuching, says the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the man was confirmed to be infected with rabies based on a laboratory test done on Aug 9 following the man’s death on Aug 7.
He said the deceased was first bitten by his dog on the back of his right hand on June 15.
“It happened when he was trying to catch his dog that was wandering outside the house. On the same day, his eight-year-old daughter was also bitten by the same dog.
“The dog was obtained from a friend of theirs in Kuching at the end of May. But the dog’s rabies vaccination status was unknown, ” he said in a statement yesterday.
Dr Noor Hisham said the deceased and his daughter had washed their wounds for 15 minutes, adding that the deceased then brought his daughter to see a doctor and to get vaccinated.
However, he said the deceased did not get treated with the rabies vaccine like his daughter, and also did not tell doctors that he was bitten by the dog on two occasions when he visited two clinics on July 31 and Aug 2.
He said the deceased finally told doctors that he was bitten by a dog on Aug 3 when he visited the Sarawak General Hospital after his symptoms worsened.
The daughter is currently in good health and is being monitored by health authorities.
Following the man’s death, Dr Noor Hisham said the death toll had risen to 19 since the rabies outbreak on July 1.
He noted that there were a total of 20 rabies cases reported to date and four of those happened this year.
“This case is the fourth case where the victim was bitten by a dog that was obtained from another individual, where the dog’s rabies vaccination status was unknown.
“The Health Ministry once again urges the public to not take or pick up a dog or any animal where its rabies vaccination status is unknown even though the animal is in a residential area.
“The animal may have been infected by the rabies virus and that the virus might be in the incubation period before the animal displays any symptoms, ” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham added that after cleaning the wound for 15 minutes, victims must immediately seek medical help at the nearest clinic or hospital.