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Update on Bali's Anti-Rabies Offensive

Street Dogs Being Culled and Pets Vaccinated in Coordinated Response to Bali's Rabies Outbreak.

(12/8/2008) The Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Anton Apriyanto, has issued a formal regulation (Number 1637/2008) officially declaring Bali as rabies infected with effect from December 1, 2008. According to comments made to the press by the Director General of Animal Husbandry from the Department of Agriculture, Tjeppy D. Soedjana, the ministerial ruling marks the first time in history that Bali has lost is "rabies-free" status.

The Minister's regulatory decree was issued after four deaths occurred in Bali between September-November 2008 following dog bites. According to Tjeppy, the deaths occurred in Kuta Selatan (Ungasan), Kedonganan (Jimbaran) and Kuta with two fatalities definitely confirmed to be linked to the rabies virus. Although the disease has thus far been limited to these three villages, the Government has declared the entire island at risk due to the lack of natural barriers and the free-commerce between all the different regions of the island.

Island Now Under Official Quarantine

Armed with the ministerial decree, the Governor of Bali has issued an additional decree (Number 88/2008) temporary banning the import or export of dogs, cats, monkeys or other animals, declaring the island under official quarantine until further notice.

The Director of Public and Veterinarian Health told the press that the government is targeting to have the rabies outbreak in Bali under control within three months.

According to Tjeppy, as of December 4, 2008 a total of 110 dogs have been vaccinated in Bali and 196 stray dogs or dogs suspected to be infected with the disease have been eradicated.

Separately, Indonesia S Minister of Health, Siti Fadillah Supari confirmed that 400 dosages of human vaccine to treat potential bites inflicted on humans by rabid animals. Through November 27, 2008 a total of 74 animal bits have been recorded over the past several months.

Radar Bali confirms that a large number of dogs have been culled in the Ungasan, Kedonganan, Kuta and Denpasar areas of Bali in response to the Governor's call for swift and decisive action in response to the confirmation of rabies among Bali's street dog population. At the same time, according to the newspaper, hundreds of pet dogs have now been vaccinated in the ongoing effort to stop the potentially lethal virus in its tracks.

The government has been assisted in its vaccination program by two animal care groups - Yudisthira Foundation and Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA). Those villages currently being provided with animal vaccine include Kuta Selatan, Tuban, Kedonganan, Jimbaran, Benoa, Tanjung Benoa, Kutuh, Pecatu and Ungasan.

Efforts to distribute vaccine have met with mixed results. In Pesalakan 90 local residents lined up with their pets to receive free vaccination. This contrasted with the residents of Pecatu where only 15 dogs were vaccinated. Every animal receiving the vaccination is issued with a collar and a card certifying their anti-rabies status.

Officials are adopting an "outside in" approach in providing anti-rabies vaccine. By creating a perimeter of vaccinated animals in the areas immediately surrounding those areas in which rabies have been confirmed, officials aim to isolated and eventually eliminate and prevent a further spread of the disease.

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