A Peristent Pandemic
Bali Officials Finding it Difficult to Eliminate Rabies in Bali
Rabies in Bali has proven itself a formidable foe to the Island’s health officials since its re-emergence as an island-wide pandemic in 2008.
As reported br Radar Bali, the head of the Provincial Health Department, Ketut Suarjaya, confirms that there remain many “red pockets” where rabid dogs remain on the loose.
Among Bali’s 9 regencies and metropolitan areas, only the capital of Denpasar can currently claim to be “rabies-free.”
Since the start of the most recent rabies outbreak in 2008, a total of 170 deaths have been linked to the disease. Suarajaya reports that while new rabies cases reported are on the decline with 80 dog bites reported each day, down from 150 daily cases just one year ago.
Suarjaya told Radar Bali that as long as there are free-roaming dogs in Bali there will continue to be new rabies cases. Efforts by the government to vaccinate dogs and eliminate stray dogs has not been successful in irradicating the potentially fatal disease.
Each year the Bali Provincial Health Department purchases 36,000 vials of anti-rabies vaccine for the treatment of humans bitten by rabid animals. The vials, costing the government Rp. 178,000 each, must be administered four times to each victim. The total annual cost to the Government of these vaccines exceeds Rp. 6.4 billion.