PETALING JAYA: A five-year-old boy who was infected with rabies in Sarawak, has died, says the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the boy from Kampung Mambong, Jalan Penrissen, Kuching, died on Nov 2 while undergoing intensive care treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital (HUS).
He said test samples sent to the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) turned up positive for rabies.
"The child was unwell since Oct 13 and had complained about sore throat. On Oct 15, the boy then had a fever and was acting out of the ordinary. He was then brought to a private clinic for treatment.
"When his condition worsened, he was then brought to a Klinik Kesihatan (Health Ministry's Health Clinic) and was treated as an outpatient with a Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) diagnosis. On Oct 21, he was then brought to HUS as his condition grew weaker," he said in a statement on Friday (Nov 8).
Dr Noor Hisham said the boy's family owned two dogs at home, adding that the dogs were not rabies vaccinated.
He added that the dogs were also allowed to play with stray dogs.
"The deceased did not complain about being bitten by a dog or other animals," he said.
With the death of the boy, Dr Noor Hisham said confirmed rabies cases in Sarawak since the rabies outbreak on July 17,2017 was 22 cases, including 21 deaths.
He noted that six of those cases occurred in 2019.
Dr Noor Hisham also urged parents to advise their children to be cautious and to alert them if they are bitten, scratched, or had a wound licked by a dog.
He added that the public have to be cautious as the Sarawak Veterinary Department had previously noted that out of five dogs in the state, two were tested positive for rabies.