Report dog bite cases, refer victims to rabies centre immediately, GPs told

Uggah speaks to reporters.

KUCHING: General practitioners (GPs) are strongly advised to report dog bite cases to the rabies centre here, amidst the present ongoing war against the disease.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the GPs should not just report the cases, but also to refer the victims to the rabies centre for immediate action.

He expressed his regret upon learning that at the latest human rabies victim was only treated at a private clinic, where the doctor failed to refer him to a government hospital for proper vaccination.

“When the victim went to see the doctor, what he had was just a normal injection – the doctor did not advise him to report himself to the rabies centre in Kuching.

“If a person is bitten by a dog, the person must report to the rabies centre in Kuching where the vaccine will be given to the victim.

“In this particular case (the latest victim), it was not done and it was very unfortunate. We are now telling all, especially (doctors from) the private sector to report and refer (dog bite) victims to the rabies centre because it is very vital for the victims to be treated immediately,” he said after flagging off the Malaysia Palm Oil Industry’s Centennial Run at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) building yesterday.

Uggah, who is Sarawak Disaster Management Committee chairman, said his side had been advising those who had been bitten by dogs to wash the wound immediately.

“Clean it (wound) immediately and go see a doctor. I think now, it is better for them to go to public hospitals, where there are clearer SOPs (standard of procedures). This is what we want to emphasise to the public. The most important thing is to get immediate vaccination once you’re bitten by a dog,” he said.

Uggah also reminded Sarawakians that the state government had declared the war against rabies since the outbreak last year.

“It is a war against rabies, not a war against dogs – there’s a misinterpretation. It is a war against rabies and everyone has to cooperate.

“If there is no (dog) bite, there would be no rabies. So we have to make sure that all precautionary measures are taken including taking action against stray dogs,” he stressed.

According to Uggah, the authorities are still carrying out mass rabies vaccination on dogs across the state.

“We have done it in Sibu, and we are going to do it in Miri over the next one or two days. Preparations are underway. After that, we are going to do it in Kapit, Kanowit and throughout the state.

“At the same time, we are watching the border areas. We have decided that we must prevent the dogs from being brought into the state, especially from the Indonesian (side of the) border.

“We are intensifying our activities, hoping that we would be able to ensure that this does not spread further.”

The latest human rabies victim in Sarawak is reported to be a 59-year-old man from Jalan Batu Kawah-Matang. He is the seventh victim, following a case last August involving a boy, aged seven, from Gedong.