Rabies epidemic in Klungkung intensifies as owner gets bitten by her own dog

A Bali dog for illustration purposes only. Photo: Pexels/Alexandra Johansson
A Bali dog for illustration purposes only. Photo: Pexels/Alexandra Johansson

A Balinese woman collapsed after being bitten by her own rabies-infected dog at her home in the village of Tegak, Klungkung, on Friday. The news comes less than a month after nine Klungkung villages—not including Tegak—were declared to be “rabies red zones,” as reported by Jawa Pos.

The victim, 54-year old Ni Made Susilawati, suffered severe wounds to the hand, which is considered a high risk area, and as such received both anti-rabies serum (SAR) and vaccine (VAR) at Klungkung II Health Center, according to a report by Bali Post.

Meanwhile, the poor animal had to be put down, as confirmed yesterday by the head of Klungkung Agriculture Service, Ida Bagus Juanida.

In efforts to stem the outbreak, officers from the Klungkung Agricultural Service carried out 120 vaccinations on dogs in Tegak village yesterday. Tragically, 16 street dogs, suspected of being infected with rabies, were euthanized.

With Friday’s case in mind, Juanida stressed the importance of regular vaccinations and keeping pet dogs on a tighter leash, noting that even pet dogs, when allowed to mingle with wild street dogs, can become infected.

With an estimated 500,000 stray dogs roaming the streets of Bali, rabies is not a new problem. In 2015, 15 Bali residents died as a result of rabid dog bites. Since then, cases have declined thanks to the mass rabies eradication program, carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Welfare in 2017.

According to the ministry’s report, the sweep saw 85 percent of the stray dog population across 716 Bali villages vaccinated against the virus.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that 16 rabies-positive street dogs had to be euthanized, but it should have stated the dogs were euthanized based on suspicion they had rabies. We apologize for the error.

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