Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

An Indonesian woman who died of rabies in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Monday contracted the disease in her homeland, Malaysian authorities have said in an official statement.

On Wednesday, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, director general of the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH), said the woman had been bitten by her dog in September in Indonesia, Bernama reported.

The woman was taken to a private hospital in Kuching, Sarawak, after her condition got worse. She died on Monday and was confirmed to have been suffering from rabies after a series of tests.

Sarawak has been hit by a rabies outbreak but Abdullah said this case would not be included in the official death toll as the woman had contracted the disease in Indonesia.

He added that the MOH was informed of the case via the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point Malaysia-Indonesia. The MOH would also be coordinating with the Sarawak state authorities as well as the Indonesian authorities to reduce the spread of rabies in the region.

The Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah share the island of Borneo with Indonesia and Brunei.

Rabies was declared an epidemic in Sarawak on July 1, 2017. There have been 16 cases recorded, with 15 of them fatal. Other than the Indonesian woman’s case, the most recent rabies-related death was reported on December 10 this year.