In a follow-up on the rabies outbreak in Serian district, Sarawak, Malaysia, a third rabies fatality has been reported, according to the health ministry Thursday.

Rabies
A canine suspected of being rabid that had been exhibiting signs of restlessness, and overall uncharacteristic aggressive behavior, which are two symptoms of rabies.
Image/CDC

The 7-year-old girl had been admitted on June 28 after being treated at the Serian district hospital. Confirmation of rabies infection was made two days later.

This follows the deaths of two other small children in the district.

Despite numerous rumors, no additional human rabies cases have been reported, according to the State Disaster Management Committee secretariat.

Nearly 200 people in Serian district have been vaccinated against rabies after health department teams reached out and interviewed 21,978 villagers and discovered the dog bite victims.

In addition, more than 1,500 pet animals at 11 villages have been vaccinated to date.

LISTEN: Everything you wanted to know about rabies

Rabies is an acute infection of the central nervous system caused by the rabies virus. It affects mammals like dogs, cats, foxes, bats and humans. When humans are bitten, scratched or licked over their broken skin by an infected animal, the virus in the saliva of the infected animal enters the human body through the wound and travels through nerves to the brain, leading to encephalitis.

The incubation period of rabies may last for a few days to several years, but it is usually three to eight weeks. The initial symptoms may be nonspecific flu-like symptoms such as malaise, fever, or headache, which may last for days. There may be numbness and tingling around the site of the wound. These are followed after a few days by anxiety, confusion, spasm of swallowing muscles, paralysis, coma and death.

Members of the public should avoid stray animals. In case being bitten by an animal, wash the wound with water and soap and seek medical attention. Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 69,000 deaths due to rabies annually.