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Rabies haunts island again as rabid dog bites five residents in Gianyar

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar | Thu, July 18, 2013 | 08:06 am

Despite its optimism to be rabies free by 2015, Bali has been challenged this week by another rabies case.

On Tuesday, a rabid dog bit five people in Gianyar regency. The people who were bitten have received medical treatment and rabies vaccinations.

'€œThe remains of the dog that bit five residents in Gianyar have been examined by the Denpasar Veterinary Board. They concluded that the dog was infected with rabies,'€ the provincial husbandry agency head, I Putu Sumantra, said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred in Kutuh Kelod hamlet, Petulu village, in Gianyar regency.

One of the victims, Ni Kadek Parwati, 46, was heading off to Ubud art market at 10 a.m., when the dog bit her on her right foot. After the attacks, the villagers caught and killed the dog.

To prevent the victims themselves developing rabies, the five were vaccinated. The reappearance of rabies serves as a new challenge for the island, which is targeting being free of rabies by 2015. In April this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) presented awards to Bali'€™s provincial administration for its successful efforts in preventing and mitigating rabies.

Sumantra suspected that the dog had come from the forests in the mountains around Gianyar, where the vaccination had not yet reached. He said it was possible that there were more dogs living in the forests that were still unvaccinated.

'€œIt is our challenge now to vaccinate dogs living in the forests. There could be more dogs living out there,'€ he added.

The first rabies outbreak in Bali occurred in 2008 in Ungasan village. Since then, Bali has gone through three stages of mass vaccinations for dogs, monkeys and cats, all of which are believed to be rabies carriers. This year, from April to July, the fourth stage of the mass vaccination is taking place, targeting inoculating 250,000 of the 350,000 dog population.

Rabies cases in humans in Bali have been decreasing in recent years, thanks to the mass animal vaccination initiative. In 2008, four cases were recorded, while 2009 saw 48 cases. The largest number '€” 82 cases, was recorded in 2010. After the mass animal vaccination program was launched in Bali, rabies cases in humans started to decrease. In 2011, 24 cases were recorded, and by 2012 only 8 cases had occurred.

Vaccinations for humans are performed in 33 rabies centers housed in community health centers, Sanglah Hospital and nine regional hospitals, free of charge.

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