06 August 2010

Rabies in Bali...

Rabies is a problem in Bali, and it has been for a while. The government has never really been pro-active in controlling and eradicating rabies. The government has tended to be more reactive, and now that foreign governments are starting to issue travel warnings or advice that suggests the rabies epidemic is serious enough that people need to take extra precautions or not travel to Bali has seen the government ratchet up efforts to get on top of the spread of rabies.

The past two years have seen an explosion in numbers of dog bites and human deaths from rabies infections. There have been some 34,000 reported dog bites this year. The past two years has seen 76 recorded deaths from rabies.

The government plan calls for all dogs to be vaccinated by the end of the year. This is presumably dogs that are seemingly owned by someone. The reality is that strays are likely to be destroyed. The authorities in Bali estimate that there are still hundreds of thousands of dogs to be vaccinated. That is a lot of dogs and a lot of potential rabies cases, especially when one considers that since 2008 somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 dogs have been vaccinated, and tens of thousands destroyed.

There is an article in The Jakarta Globe about the issue. The following little extract caught my eye enough that I have cut and pasted it into this post:

"Unlike the rest of mainly Muslim Indonesia, where people do not generally keep dogs, Bali is a predominantly Hindu island and dogs are common either as pets or strays."

I am guessing that this is a statement of fact based on the idea that dogs are less acceptable under Islam than they are in Hindu beliefs. I only note it because I saw more dogs in other places outside of Bali than I did in Bali, so on in an anecdotal sense this did not ring true to me, personally. Besides, I am not sure that the reference to religious beliefs adds anything to the gravitas of the story itself.

But, dogs are not the only animals that carry rabies, are they?

Oh well

No comments: