Recent dog culling spree may be due to unusual number of deaths from rabies and thinning supply of vaccine

It seems that the unusual number of deaths from rabies in Bali may be the driver behind the latest street dog culling, which has angered many animal activists, including international superstar Sia.

More deaths resulting from rabies transmitted by dog bites were reported last week. In Singaraja, a 19 year old girl died after being treated in the General Regional Hospital (RSUD) at Buleleng. A 15 year old boy also died on Thursday from rabies. Two dog bites were also reported in Karangasem last Tuesday, according to Tribun Bali.  

Provincial authorities reported a thinning supply of the anti-rabies vaccine last month, but soon ordered additional stock which made its way to Buleleng, Jembrana, Gianyar and Denpasar. However, it appears that the remaining stock, which was supposed to arrive and distributed to the rest of the island by the end of May, has yet to make its way to the island (though Bio Farma reportedly told Tribun Bali that it was “working to meet the demands”).

The Public Health Authorities in Bali told Tribun Bali that from January 2015 to June 2015, there have been seven reported deaths that resulted from rabid dog bites. Dr. Ketut Suarjaya, the head of the Public Health Authorities in Bali reportedly said that he receives between 110 to 120 reports of dog bites a month, and that the number of deaths from rabies that have occurred in Bali in 2015 to date already exceeds the total number of deaths from rabies that occurred in Bali last year (there were three). He warned citizens that if the number of dog bites continues to increase in Bali, there will not be enough supply of the vaccine to meet the demands.

Buleleng provincial authorities told Tribun Bali that it was necessary to increase public knowledge on what they must do to prevent rabies from spreading. In addition, they also said that they will continue to vaccinate stray and pet dogs, but will eliminate any dogs tested positive with regards to the rabies virus.
We hope that this news doesn’t trigger further violence amongst innocent dogs. Meanwhile, the only thing we can do right now is keep our distances away from rabid looking dogs and hope that Bio Farma sends more anti rabies vaccine stock our way as soon as possible. 

Photo at the top: Flickr 


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