Boy with no an­i­mal bite his­tory dies of ra­bies

No­tion that ra­bies can only be spread through an­i­mal bites shat­tered, virus can also be spread through an­i­mal saliva

The Borneo Post - - Front Page - Jeremy Veno

KUCHING: A five-year-old boy was con­firmed to be the lat­est ra­bies en­cephali­tis fa­tal­ity al­though he had never com­plained of be­ing bi en by a dog or other an­i­mals.

The Min­istry of Health (MoH) con­firmed that the death of the boy on Nov 2 was due to ra­bies en­cephali­tis a er tests con­ducted at the In­sti­tute for Med­i­cal Re­search re­turned with pos­i­tive re­sults.

Health Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Ab­dul­lah said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that the virus can spread through an in­fected an­i­mal’s saliva if it comes into con­tact with an open wound.

He cau­tioned par­ents to ad­vise their chil­dren to avoid be­ing licked by dogs es­pe­cially strays, and in­form adults in the fam­ily if they had been bi en or licked by an­i­mals.

The sit­u­a­tion is very se­ri­ous as Dr Noor Hisham re­vealed that the Sarawak Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices De­part­ment had re­ported that out of ev­ery five dogs in Sarawak, two are pos­i­tive with the ra­bies virus.

He said the de­ceased from Kam­pung Mam­bong, Jalan Pen­ris­sen suc­cumbed at the Sarawak Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (SGH) on Nov 2 while re­ceiv­ing care at the in­ten­sive care unit.

“The de­ceased never com­plained that he was ever bi en by a dog or any an­i­mal,” he said.

“The de­ceased be­came less ac­tive on Oct 13 and com­plained of sore throat. On Oct 15, he de­vel­oped a fever and was out of his usual char­ac­ter,” he said.

He added the de­ceased was first taken to a pri­vate clinic for a med­i­cal check-up on Oct 15 and three days later (Oct 18) was brought to a gov­ern­ment clinic (Klinik Ke­si­hatan) where he was di­ag­nosed with Up­per Res­pi­ra­tory Tract In­fec­tion (URTI).

The de­ceased’s health fur­ther de­te­ri­o­rated and he was brought to SGH on Oct 21. He suc­cumbed to the virus on Nov 2.

It was also re­vealed that the fam­ily has two un­vac­ci­nated pet dogs which are roam­ing with other stray dogs but pre­sumed not in­fected by the ra­bies virus.

With the con­fir­ma­tion of this case, the ra­bies virus in Sarawak since July 1, 2017 has taken 21 lives from a to­tal of 22 cases. Six of these cases took place this year.

The de­ceased never com­plained that he was ever bit­ten by a dog or any an­i­mal.

Dr Noor Hisham

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