KUCHING, Sept 4 — Sarawak can only be declared free of a rabies outbreak after two years from July, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.&
He said the declaration was in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s standard on contagious diseases like rabies.
He said the last and sixth victim bitten by a mad dog was in June.
“Since July, we do not have reports of victims of being bitten by mad dogs,” Uggah, who is also the state disaster management committee chairman, told reporters after officiating the 12th convocation of the Sarawak Agriculture Institute in Semengok, about 15km from here.
The sixth and last victim was a seven-year old boy from Kampung Kula in Gedong, Serian Division, who was bitten by a mad dog on June 17.
He was referred to the Serian Hospital where he received three anti-rabies dosages on July 21, 24 and 28. When his condition worsened, he was admitted on August 1.
He was later transferred to the Sarawak General Hospital on August 3, where he is still receiving treatment at the Intensive Care Unit.
Four children and an adult, all from Serian Division, have died due to rabies encephalomyelitis.
They were earlier bitten by dogs carrying the rabies virus.
Uggah said the coordinated efforts of the state agencies have succeeded in containing the spread of the rabies outbreak, which was believed to have spread from the Indonesian province of Kalimantan in May this year.
“Our state agencies are also working well with their Indonesian counterparts to stop the spread of the disease from crossing the border to Sarawak,” he said.
Uggah said since May over 35,000 dogs and other animals, including cats, have been vaccinated with the anti-rabies vaccine.
He said samples taken from dogs so far have been declared as negative of rabies virus.