Bali steps up rabies vaccinations after infected dogs bit local residents

File photo of a dog in Bali. Photo: Coconuts Bali
File photo of a dog in Bali. Photo: Coconuts Bali

Officials in Bali are stepping up rabies vaccinations for dogs across the province, following cases in Jembrana and Tabanan regencies, where about a dozen local residents were recently bitten by rabies-infected dogs. 

Wanagiri and Berembeng, two villages in Tabanan regency, were declared red zones for rabies this week after local officials found at least five rabies-infected dogs.

“[We found] three Berembeng residents who were bitten by rabies-infected dogs. In June there’s been two cases of rabies-infected dogs in two different villages,” I Wayan Suamba, who heads the livestock department in Tabanan’s Agriculture Agency, said.

Last week, at least nine residents from Mendoyo Dauh Tukad village in Jembrana regency were bitten by a pet dog, which was later confirmed to have been infected with rabies. The owner told a local media outlet that the domesticated dog had previously interacted with a stray dog before it began to exhibit unusual aggression and later bit members of the household.  

As of Monday, over 100 dogs had received vaccination in Mendoyo Dauh Tukad, while six stray dogs were sadly put down, local officials said. The people who had been bitten have also received anti-rabies vaccine (VAR), according to reports. 

The Bali provincial government has distributed more than 532,000 rabies vaccines as a precaution, though the number is less than the estimated total dog population across the province, which officials put at around 647,000.

“Between January and June 2020, there are 54 cases of rabies-positive [dogs] in Bali. This showcases a decrease when compared to the same period last year, when there were 126 cases,” IB Wisnuardhana, who heads Bali’s Agriculture and Food Security Agency, said. 

The reduced number of cases, however, could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited outdoor activities for months as people are encouraged to stay home.

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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