Malaysia hit by first ra­bies deaths in al­most 20 years

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Two Malaysian chil­dren have died af­ter con­tract­ing ra­bies, the coun­try’s first such deaths in al­most two decades, as au­thor­i­ties bat­tle a rare out­break of the dis­ease, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day. A six-yearold girl and her four-year-old brother died Tues­day af­ter be­com­ing in­fected with the dis­ease in a ru­ral area on the Malaysian part of Bor­neo is­land. They were among three peo­ple con­firmed to have been in­fected with ra­bies, which in most cases is trans­mit­ted via dog bites, ac­cord­ing to Sarawak’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment and housing min­is­ter Sim Kui Hian.

“Two of the three con­firmed cases... were pro­nounced dead,” he said. “They were di­ag­nosed to be brain dead and the par­ents have agreed for the life sup­port to be with­drawn.” He said the other pa­tient was still “crit­i­cally ill”. Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah, Malaysia’s di­rec­tor gen­eral of health, told AFP that the cases were the first ra­bies-re­lated deaths in the coun­try in al­most 20 years. Five vil­lages in the Serian dis­trict of Sarawak state, which bor­ders the In­done­sian part of Bor­neo, are con­firmed as hav­ing been af­fected by the out­break. Enor­mous, jun­gle-clad Bor­neo is shared be­tween Malaysia, In­done­sia and Brunei.

Sim said health teams in Serian had vis­ited 19 vil­lages as of Tues­day and car­ried out checks on over 6,000 peo­ple. Only three cases of hu­mans con­tract­ing ra­bies have so far been con­firmed. Of­fi­cials have or­dered all dogs in the area to be vac­ci­nated against ra­bies, re­ported state news agency Ber­nama. Ra­bies causes in­flam­ma­tion of the brain and spinal cord, and is al­most al­ways fa­tal once con­tracted, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion. It mainly af­fects poor and vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions in ru­ral ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to the WHO. —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.