By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Malaysia Ministry of Health released an update on the rabies situation in Sarawak today.

Image/Robert Herriman

The rabies outbreak in Sarawak that was declared on July 1, 2017 is now entering its third year. The number of pet bites in dogs and cats is still high, averaging from 40 to 60 cases a day, at a rate similar to that of the first year of the rabies outbreak.

In 2019, a large number of dogs and cats biting humans tested positive for rabies. According to a report from the Department of Veterinary Services of Sarawak, as of September 30, 2019, a total of 138 (32.8%) samples from a total of 420 test dogs and cats were diagnosed with rabies.

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This year, there were five (5) confirmed cases of rabies among humans. The last case was on August 21, 2019 involving a 64-year-old man from a longhouse in Mukah, Sarawak. The patient was bitten by a dog taken from his brother in Kanowit. The case died on August 19, 2019 while under the care of a specialist in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Bintulu Hospital.

From July 1, 2017 to October 3, 2019, the number of rabies cases in humans was 21. All of the cases died except for a surviving child and now nine (9) years of age who had severe neurological complications due to rabies infection.