The Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) today confirmed that an Indonesian succumbed to rabies at a private hospital in Kuching, Sarawak yesterday, and that she was not infected in Malaysia.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the 69-year-old woman had been bitten by her pet dog on her left leg in September in Indonesia, and had sought treatment there.
"However, her condition worsened and she was then brought to the private hospital in Kuching and treated in the Intensive Care Unit.
"Unfortunately she died on December 17 and the results of laboratory tests received on December 18 were positive for rabies," he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, the Utusan Borneo Online portal reported that an Indonesian rabies victim died in Kuching after being bitten by her dog about three months ago.
Dr Noor Hisham said the case was not included as part of statistics for the outbreak in Malaysia as the patient was bitten in Indonesia.
Hence, he said the number of rabies cases in Sarawak since the declaration of the epidemic on July 1, 2017 remained at 16, including 15 deaths, the most recent being on December 10.
He added that this case has been made known to the Indonesian Ministry of Health through the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point Malaysia-Indonesia and that MOH will work with the Sarawak state government, the Veterinary Services Department and the Indonesian authorities to curb the spread of rabies in dogs, especially at the border.