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Concerns of Widening Rabies Epidemic in Bali

Rabid Monkey Suspected in Violent Death of Man Killed in East Bali


Bali News: Concerns of Widening Rabies Epidemic in Bali
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(5/18/2012)

A monkey run amuck on Monday, May 14, 2012, reportedly killed Nyoman Gunung, a 66-year-old Karangasem man in the village of Tengah Nongan.

The man’s naked body was found along the side a local river riddled with animal bites. The man was reportedly taking a bath in a local river at the time of his death.

Bali Post verified on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, with the spokesman for the Karangasem Police station, Made Wartama, the discovery of the man’s body the previous day. The body had already undergone a post-mortem examination. That examination concluded the man’s many wounds were due to animal bites. There were bites on the man’s two hands, chest and legs. No bites were found to any vital organs. There were, however, indications that at least one of the bites severed an artery, causing the man to bleed to death.

The dead body was discovered by a fellow villager, Nyoman Dana, at 5:30 pm while the man was on his way to the river to take an evening bath. Dana told the police that Nyoman Gunung was already dead when he first saw the man’s body.

Raising the alarm with fellow villagers, the nearest police precinct at Rendang was also called to the scene.

Dana told the press that the area along the river is home to hundreds of monkeys. To date, however, the monkeys have never bothered or attacked the local human population. “This is the first time this has happened. I don’t know. Did the victim bring food that caused the monkeys to attack?” Dana querried.

The State News Agency Antara quoted another villager from Nongan, Komang Semara Yasa, saying: “The victim Nyoman Gunung was found in a critical condition by a villager around 50 meters from the river with severe wounds all over his body, injuries caused by monkey bites. Before he could be given medical help, the victim died.”

Yasa said local villages suspect the monkey that killed the man was infected with rabies, because several weeks earlier the same monkey had attacked a dog. After the attack the dog then exhibited symptoms of rabies causing its owner to put the animal down.

The monkey had also attacked a villager bathing the river necessitating the villager’s hospitalization for a several days.

Semara complained that village officials and the police failed to urgently act upon the initial reports made by villagers and forwarded on to the police. Semara said a more serious handling of the initial complaint might have prevented the man’s death.

If rabies is confirmed to have now spread to the monkey population at the Karangasem village, it will represent the first case of primate infection in Bali and raise a myriad of concerns on what to do with the thousands of semi-sacred monkeys that populates temples and tourist spots across the Bali and how to protect the thousands of tourists who visit these locales ever day.


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