RABIES: HUMAN DEATH & DOGS UNDER THREAT

Posted on May 27, 2015

BAWA OFFERS sincere condolences to the family and friends of Tabanan mother Afliana Augustina, 52, reported in Bali’s Indonesian media to have died of respiratory failure on 20 May after being bitten by a dog. Tribun Bali newspaper (May 22) reported that Afliana died 12 hours after being moved from Tabanan hospital to the Sanglah Hospital Rabies Centre in Denpasar.

TRIBUN BALI says Bali Provincial Health Department records show 5 human deaths from rabies this year – one each in Bangli, Gianyar and Tabanan (Afliana Augustina last week) and two in Buleleng. The newspaper says this compares to two official rabies deaths throughout all of 2014.

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OTHER MEDIA reported that Afliana, from Bongan village, had been bitten 6 months ago by her own puppy which had died 3 days after biting her. Officials said she refused to seek VAR (anti-rabies vaccine). Tabanan Human Health head Nyoman Suratmika reportedly said VAR stocks were depleted throughout Bali and that Bali would borrow VAR from other provinces when needed. One report said Afliana was the first human death from rabies in 2015 and that a total 19 people had died in Bali from rabies since 2009.

ALSO ON 22 May, the Bali Post newspaper reported that a spokesman for Tukad Besi village in Abang, Karangasem, said 5 members of his community had been bitten by dogs in the past 2 weeks. Two bite victims had searched for the life-saving VAR in Buleleng, Singaraja, Karangasem and the Sanglah Hospital Rabies Control Centre in Denpasar. No facility had stock of VAR. They then searched successfully in Lombok.

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FAJAR BALI on 22 May reported that although the Karangasem regency government had allocated Rp1.035 billion to buy VAR for one year, the vaccine had not been manufactured and could not be supplied. The Tukad Besi leader urged people not to play with dogs, to chain their dogs and flagged introducing a custom law requiring owners of dogs who bite people to pay all costs of medicines and treatment. Karangasem parliamentarian Wayan Tama urged the Animal Husbandry department to conduct intensive vaccinations of dogs and pushed for accelerated education of people on rabies prevention in the absence of VAR.

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BAWA investigations last week foreshadowed this critical islandwide shortage of VAR. Please see our post of 19 May titled VACCINE SHORTAGE BRINGS ALARM & DOG CULLS. This post includes confirmation of a rabies positive dog in Karangasem.

IN JAWA POS on 19 May, Badung Animal Husbandry head Made Badra proposed mass elimination of all but 200,000 Bali dogs and sterilisation of the remaining 200,000 which he somehow is reported as saying would preserve the endangered Bali dog. He also criticised NGOs for little work on rabies control. BAWA has often and sometimes publicly requested meetings with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika to contribute to a humane and effective solution to rabies on Bali. The invitation stands.

Rabies Jawa Pos 22 May - Badra

WE ASK AGAIN, how could government allow human vaccines to run dry when Bali is experiencing a rabies epidemic and is a popular tourist destination? And we ask why there are so many rabies cases on the island?  In 2011 BAWA had successfully eradicated 80 percent of rabies in humans and in dogs. The Government needed only to continue the successful program.

THE ONLY effective means of rabies eradication is to vaccinate dogs and NEVER KILL vaccinated dogs which results in a loss of all-important herd immunity.  Laws should prohibit people from dumping sick animals which should be kept in villages under the controls of vaccination and sterilisation.  To again mass cull dogs (proven to be counter-productive in Bali and many other places) means loss of millions of dollars and international efforts by groups such as BAWA, WSPA (now WAP), IFAW and FAO. We almost won the battle after the 2008 outbreak, proving the effectivenes of VACCINATION NOT ELIMINATION.

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BALI MUST: Keep vaccinating; stock human vaccines islandwide; teach prevention of dog bites; give rabies education; and stop people from panicking and therefore being bitten. Bali’s govenment should WORK WITH experienced NGOs and allow international volunteer groups that have offered to help to come here to vaccinate.  Government must be TRANSPARENT about rabies cases so that groups such as BAWA can inform tourists who daily pick up animals, some sick, of the danger.

IT IS unconscionable to not stock human vaccines islandwide.  If funding is the issue vaccines could be sold at cost.

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PLEASE REPORT any suspected or proven rabies cases to BAWA and please report culls or planned culls to BAWA on 0811-389-004 or email info@balianimalwelfare.com. Please get pre-exposure protection against rabies and please keep your dogs vaccinated and safe.

ALERT: At the time of posting BAWA is investigating multiple unconfirmed reports of mass culling and planned mass culling at Culik in Karangasem and in the tourist areas of Nusa Dua, Jimbaran and nearby Ungasan.

Thank you.

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