KUCHING: The public have been reminded again to seek immediate treatment at the nearest hospital, if they are bitten or scratched by dogs, cats or even monkeys.
"This simple rule will save your life, especially now that Sarawak is facing a deadly rabies outbreak," said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
He said this on Thursday (Oct 10) upon learning that rabies had claimed yet another life, the 20th fatality since the outbreak began on July 1,2017.
Based on information from the state veterinary office in Mukah, Uggah said the 64-year-old man was bitten on May 21 by one of two dogs he had adopted from a relative in Sibu.
"The report said he was bitten when feeding the dogs. Although he was advised to seek treatment for the bite wound, he refused, saying it was not serious.
"It was only on Aug 6 that he sought treatment at the Bintulu Hospital," he said, adding that the man died on Aug 19.
Uggah, who is chairman of the state disaster management committee, said the man would not have succumbed to rabies had he heeded the advice.
"I repeat it here - the instant after being bitten, the victim must wash the wound with soap and running water for at least 10 to 15 minutes, then seek treatment at once.
"This is very important whether the wound is serious or otherwise.
"We have had cases in the past where those who sought treatment at the clinics recovered. We have the facilities to treat victims," he said.
Citing Health Ministry records, Uggah said cases of dog and cat bites remained high in Sarawak, averaging 40 to 60 daily.
"So, my further advice is please try to avoid getting bitten. Again, when you want to adopt any dog, please make sure you know where it originates from, whether it has been vaccinated and when.
"If it has not been vaccinated, get it vaccinated soonest," he said.