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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rabies (Canine) in Peninsular Malaysia (Update)

21 Sep 2015

The media has reported on a case of canine rabies involving human exposure in peninsular Malaysia. The incident occurred on 11 September 2015, when a 53-year-old woman living in Kota Setar district in Kedah was bitten by her own dog. The woman sought medical attention the following day and the Health Department arranged administration of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Subsequent examination of the dog confirmed rabies virus infection.

Kedah state is in the northeast of Malaysia and on the Thai border.

A second media item reports that culling of all stray dogs is to be carried out in Penang state in the north of peninsular Malaysia. This follows the discovery of two cases of canine rabies one in Seberang Prai and one in Balik Pulau.

Advice for Travellers

In the UK, Malaysia is considered a high risk destination for rabies mainly due to a lack of reported surveillance data and close proximity to other high risk countries.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk. Travellers to Malaysia should avoid all contact with animals and dogs in particular. All animal bites should be reported promptly and assessed carefully.