GEORGE TOWN – A 52-year-old man who is the fifth individual infected with rabies or mad dog disease in Sarawak is still unconscious but his condition is not critical.
The Ministry of Health’s Disease Control Division director Dr Chong Chee Kheong said the man, who hails from Kampung Remun, Serian in Sarawak was placed in a special isolation ward at the Sarawak General Hospital (HUS) for intensive monitoring.
“Laboratory tests on July 18 confirmed the man was infected with the rabies virus. He was not admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) because his situation was not critical,” he told reporters after the opening of the 5th Smoke-Free Cities Regional Workshop and the Summit Of Smoke-Free Leaders by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya here, today.
Participants from 10 ASEAN countries are attending the three day workshop which started yesterday.
Earlier, four rabies cases involving children were reported in Serian, all the children succumbed to the disease.
The four children, Jackson Mazlan, four, and his sister, Monica, six, from Kampung Paon Sungai Rimo, Serian died on July 4, Alicesa Lovenna, seven, from Kampung Lebor, Serian died on July 13 and Florencesia Edward, five, from Kampung Ampungan in Serian died on July 17.
Meanwhile, Dr Chong said the Health Ministry would continue to monitor the state of health of victims who tested negative for rabies at least for three weeks to six months to ensure they are free of the virus.
“Like the boy in Melaka, who was suffering from a cold, fever and headache and slight symptoms similar to the disease, but tested negative for the virus according to laboratory tests. However,, we have to monitor and treat him to see how his health condition is from time to time,” he said.
He said that based on previous cases, all victims who were diagnosed with the rabies virus were only confirmed after two or three months after they were bitten and not immediately.
“The period to determine the patient is completely free of the virus is indeed long and that’s why we need to monitor their progress for at least two to three months,” he said.
Meanwhile, in SERIAN, about 28 schools within a radius of 10 kilometres from the Serian District were briefed on the outbreak of rabies by the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department (DVS) and the Sarawak Health Department.
Sarawak DVS senior veterinary assistant officer, Ahtien Ijon said the briefing aimed at raising the awareness of the dangers of the outbreak.
Every day two teams were mobilised to give a briefing at four schools, she said when met by Bernama during a briefing at Sekolah Kebangsaan St Teresa here, today.
During the briefings, Athien said explanations are given about the symptoms of a dog infected with rabies, what to do if bitten by home mammals such as dogs, bats, cats or monkeys and other information.
These briefing are very effective because when students return home from school they would communicate the information to their parents.
“We also have a question-and-answer session. For example, a pupil asked ‘why in previous years there was no rabies outbreak’, this is a good question as it shows they are sensitive to the current situation,” she said.
Athien said besides the briefings, the team members would also collect information on incidents of students being bitten by dogs.
“We will pass on the information to the monitoring team to conduct a survey on the pupil’s village,” she said.
An English teacher at SK St Teresa, Nalie Lan welcomed the programme as she herself had been bitten by her dog.
“I was bitten on May 25 in Kampung Ampungan. I sought treatment at Serian Hospital, where I was given three vaccinations after the outbreak was confirmed. This kind of briefings are especially good for students to understand the dangers of the rabies outbreak,” she said. – BERNAMA