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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Health Ministry denies 'no rabies vaccine' report

PETALING JAYA - The Health Ministry has rubbished several media reports claiming that it does not have anti-rabies vaccine in Sarawak following an outbreak in Serian recently.

Citing a couple of reports as examples, its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry always ensured that all states have sufficient vaccines at all time as a precautionary measure, including the Sarawak General Hospital.

"Cumulatively, we have identified 624 animal bite cases from April 1 until today. Of that, 108 are undergoing tests and checkup, while 115 do not meet the vaccination indication criteria.

"A total of 401 cases have shown indications to be vaccinated, and of that figure, 395 (98.5%) biting cases have been given injections, while the remaining six to be given one soon," he said in a statement today.

Noor Hisham added that based on the Interim Guideline for Prevention and Control of Human Rabies in Malaysia, category two and three of dog bite cases would have to be assessed to see if they show indications for vaccinations, before being given one.

Several reports had, yesterday, quoted Sarawak Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian as saying that the Sarawak government wants Putrajaya to explain the unavailability of rabies vaccine in the state following the outbreak there.

Meanwhile, Noor Hisham said the health ministry has received a total of 2043 vials (small containers) of vaccines between July 1 and July 21, with another 4,517 vials to be received by early August.

He said this would be enough to vaccinate 1,640 cases of dog bites.

"Based on the current number of dog bites, the Sarawak Health Department still have sufficient stock of rabies vaccines, and if needed, more can be mobilised from the other states," he said.

Noor Hisham added that there are no new cases of rabies reported in the country, compared to the five reported previously.

The current rabies outbreak has so far claimed four lives, with another patient currently receiving treatment at the Sarawak General Hospital, and is in critical condition.

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