Beritabali.com reports that tests conducted by the Animal Husbandry and Livestock Health Service for Bali have confirmed the rabies virus in a cow bitten earlier by a rabid dog. The infected cow was found in the regency of Bangli and the owner confirmed to authorities that a dog in the middle of the previous month had bitten the bovine.
The dog was later confirmed to be rabies positive.
The head of the Animal Husbandry and Livestock Health Service, Putu Sumantra, explained that the presence of rabies in Bali’s cow population was not a threat as incidents of cow bites to humans or other animals are extremely rare.
Sumantra explained that rabies is a threat to human populations only from animals known to bite people, but cows don’t bite, so they are not considered typical carriers.
Sumantra admitted that the latest case of a rabies positive cow is the second such incident after an earlier case reported in a cow in Tabanan in 2010.
The animal health officials called on the public to remain vigilant to possible infection from dogs, cats and monkey although, according to Sumantra, there have been no confirmed cases of rabies in monkeys or cats.
More Information on Rabies
Rabies can infect all warm-blooded animals and is always fatal. It is transmitted by the saliva of any infected victim and is normally spread via a bite or due to saliva coming into contact with eyes, nose or mouth (i.e. mucous membranes) or an existing opening in the skin.
Unusual behavior in any animal is a clue to a possible rabies infection. An animal normally comfortable with people can suddenly become skittish or aggressive. Conversely, a wild animal that is typically frightened of humans may no longer be afraid.
A major symptom is for an animal or a human to have trouble eating or drinking due to difficulties in swallowing. People have been infected by rabid cattle after inserting their arms and hands into a cow’s throat in search of a presumed obstruction.
Animals suspected of rabies should not be killed by a shot to the head. The brain of the animals needs to remain intact to permit laboratory testing that can confirm infection with the rabies virus.
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