By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
Malaysia health officials have reported the first human rabies case and death in Sarawak in 2020. The case is a 5-year-old girl from Bandar Sibu, Sarawak who was attacked by dogs and bitten on the face earlier this month.
The bite wound was not washed with running water and soap immediately after the incident. She was taken to the hospital the same day and received anti-tetanus vaccine injections, Rabies Immunoglobulin (RIG) injections and two (2) anti-rabies vaccine injection dosages while being treated at Sibu Hospital.
She was soon released and received her 3rd rabies vaccine on Mar. 16.
On March 24, 2020, she was taken to receive treatment at a Community Clinic in Bandar Sibu due to fever and so on to Sibu Hospital on March 25, 2020 due to pharyngitis and difficulty swallowing water and hallucinating.
She died on March 25 from rabies encephalitis. It is the first rabies case reported this year and is the 23rd case for Sarawak rabies outbreaks since July 31, 2017. The last rabies case reported in Sarawak is November 8, 2019.
The Ministry of Health reminds the public to take preventative measures such as the following to avoid rabies:
- Wash the parts of the body bitten by a dog or other animal with running water and soap for 15 minutes to eliminate the impression of saliva;
- Get immediate treatment at a nearby health clinic or hospital if bitten by an aggressive pet animal or stray dog;
- Make sure the pet dog has received an anti-rabies injection at the nearest animal clinic and avoid mixing it with wild dogs or animals;
- If your dog or cat is found to have changed behavior, including being aggressive, get treatment immediately at an animal clinic and report to the Veterinarian Services Office nearby;
- Report to the Local Authority if there are stray dogs roaming in the area of residence; and
- Always maintain a high level of personal hygiene such as the practice of washing hands properly using water and soap after touching a pet animal.
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