Posted on July 30, 2013

We’ve all heard over the years about rabies in Bali; from the original outbreak in 2008 through to BAWA’s historic achievement in gaining agreement for an island-wide vaccination program.

Last week, BAWA intervened in a rabies positive case in north Ubud. We worked with local government to ensure all of the 40+ the dogs in the area were vaccinated. The 5 people who were bitten were given post exposure vaccinations.

This action both protected local people and avoided the potential mass decimation of dogs in the area.

This case of rabies received international publicity. We urge tourists, locals and communities not to panic. While cases of rabies still exist, the disease is on the decline. This year there have been about only 25 rabid dog cases – the lowest since the disease arrived in Bali. The good news is that until now there have been no human fatalities from rabies in 2013. This highlights the importance of a proactive response in managing the disease; something BAWA continues to work hard at.

It’s not all good news though. Knee-jerk reactions to rabies cases result in more poisonings and instances of animal cruelty across Bali.

Culling animals doesn’t help, it only fuels the problem. Many vaccinated dogs become victims of these poisonings, reducing the ‘herd immunity’ of the existing population.

When populations are reduced I this way, they are regenerated only by new and unvaccinated animals … and the problem persists. Dumping unvaccinated puppies is another problem. An estimated 85% of female puppies are thrown away, greatly increasing the unvaccinated population and making more animals susceptible to the disease.

BAWA continue to work to end rabies in Bali. Through our education programs and special response team, we are helping communities understand that vaccination and responsible pet ownership will help to bring the disease to an end.

Rabies is declining significantly, largely thanks to our responses in partnership with communities. The government’s proactive response in stocking human vaccines also means people are safer. If you are not pre-vaccinated, please consider doing so. If you see sick animals do not pick them up or touch them. Instead, please call BAWA for help on 0811-389-004.