Rabies outbreak claims two young lives while five villages in Sarawak have been declared as areas with rabies infections.
A six-year-old girl and her four-year-old brother from Kampung Paon, Sungai Rima, in Serian were pronounced dead at 1.43pm and 1.46pm respectively today.
“They were diagnosed as brain dead and their parents agreed for life support to be withdrawn,” Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said in a statement.
He said the third victim, a seven-year-old girl from Kampung Lebur, Gedong, remained ventilated and is critically ill.
Sim added that 11 health teams in Serian are still carrying out active case detection in the affected areas.
As of today, 19 villages have been visited and 6,094 people tested while the total number of dog bite cases detected in the outbreak area since Apr 1 now stands at 68.
“The state health department is advising everyone, especially residents in the Serian district, to take precautions to avoid getting infected.
“Stay away from wild animals to decrease the risk of getting bitten. If you are bitten by a dog, make sure the wound is washed thoroughly with plenty of soap and water, and go to the clinic or hospital as soon as possible,” Sim said.
The family of the deceased, Monica and Jackson, are resigned to the children’s fate.
The Borneo Post reported that a memorial with candles had already been set up for the two siblings.
Villagers thronged the house and relatives were seen comforting family members.
Women were seen preparing food for visitors, while several men were seen carving two crosses for the siblings’ graves.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak state government has declared five villages in the Serian district as areas with rabies infections: Kampung Kerait, Kampung Paon Rimu, Kampung Paun Rimu Bakung, Kampung Remun and Kampung Lebor.
Deputy chief minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said he has issued the Anti-Rabies Vaccination Order to vaccinate all dogs in the infected and surveillance areas within a 10km radius.
He added that the disaster management committee is sending out vaccination teams to the affected villages today to carry out the vaccination initially inside the infected zones, and then at areas within the surveillance zones.