Bali's continuing battle with rabies entered a new and concerning phase with the news that evidence of the deadly virus has been found in the cattle and swine populations of the island.
Radar Bali quotes an unnamed source who confirmed that scientific studies conducted at Bali's Udayana University reveal that the rabies virus has been found in a sample of cows and pigs present on the island.
This report was further confirmed by the head of the veterinarian biomedical and molecular laboratory of the University, Professor I Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, who said rabies had "certainly" spread to Bali's cattle and pig population.
Speaking on the phone with Radar Bali, Professor Mahardika said, "Yes, laboratory tests show victims of rabies among cattle and pigs."
Locations in which rabies have been confirmed in these farm animals are in the regencies of Tabanan and Badung. While reluctant to give specific areas for the outbreaks, Mahardika did confirm cattle infections in Tabanan and in the Bukit Jimbaran area of the island.
Professor Mahardika said the cases of cattle and pig infection were tied to bites from rabies-infected dogs. The pigs and cows bitten by the dogs eventually displayed rabies symptoms and died.
Risk to Humans Minimal
When asked of the risk of infection from cows and pigs to humans, Mahardika discounted such risks as being minimal. He did warn, however, of the chance of infection to meat handlers with open cuts that come in contact with the raw meat of pigs and cows.
He called for better public education on how rabies is spread in order to address the ineffective way in which rabies has been dealt with in Bali to date.
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