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When the Dog Bites. . .When I'm feeling sad 

14-Year-Old North Bali Student Dies 1.5 months After Being Bitten by Pet Puppy

A 14-year-old junior high school student in North Bali, Era Ariawan, died of suspected rabies on at 4:00 am on Friday, May 3, 2019, in the emergency room of the Buleleng General Hospital.

The young boy suffered bites to his right calf and left leg 1.5 months ago. At the time of the animal’s bite, the boy’s mother, Made Karmini (40), acted on the misinformed gossip of a neighbour and failed to seek free-of-charge anti-rabies vaccine that the government insists is available without charge at all government-run health centres (puskesmas). Karmini was told by a neighbour at the time of the animal attack that the anti-rabies vaccine cost Rp. 1.5 million, a price she could not afford.

Quoted by DenPost, Karmini (pictured) standing in tears outside the morgue at the hospital where her son laid dead, said: “I was just in a hurry. Somebody said the vaccine cost between Rp. 1 million and Rp. 1.5 million. Where would I find that much money? (Anyway) my child said there was no pain and was still able to attend school."

On the first of May, the boy’s condition suddenly took a turn for the worse. Ariawan began suffering from a chill and he could no longer move his legs. “He couldn’t walk and he couldn’t drink water. I brought him to a local mid-wife (bidan) who said he was suffering from Chikunggunya. I had forgotten (to tell the bidan) that he had been bitten by a dog,” the mother explained saying his condition improved slightly after being given the medicine. In fact, the boy asked his mother on May 2, 2019, to buy some goat satay and an iced dessert. The boy’s request gladdened the mother who saw it as a sign of returning good health.

Shortly after returning from the market with the requested treats, Ariawan was already suffering fits and convulsions, with his tongue protruding from his mouth. The frantic mother brought the boy to the Pratama Tangguwisia Hospital in Seririt who immediately referred the boy to the Buleleng General Hospital for more specialized care.

“The dog bit my first child, my nephew, and future son-in-law. But I don’t know exactly when they were bitten. They have all been given anti-rabies vaccine last Thursday. The dog died two days after biting Ariawan,” Karmini recounted.

The director of the Buleleng General Hospital, Gede Wiartana, confirmed that the boy had been diagnosed as suffering from rabies when he arrived with advance manifestations of the disease upon arrival at the hospital on May 2, 2019. The boy’s symptoms included an inability to eat, a high temperature, and nauseousness following an animal bite history within the past two months.

Once the symptoms of rabies have manifested the course of the disease is typically fatal.