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Rabies Vaccines Out of Stock at Bali's Main Hospital

Doctors Promise New Supplies of Rabies Vaccine Available by End of September as 11th Victim Dies After Being Bit by a Stray Dog.

(9/28/2009) Bali's ongoing struggle to fight the current rabies epidemic is being complicated by the lack of rabies vaccine at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital. As reported by Berita Bali.com, the drug store on the hospital's premises has posted a sign in its window announcing that rabies vaccine are "out of stock" .

The head of the rabies prevention team at the hospital, Dr. IGB Ken Wirasandhi, is blaming the lack of rabies vaccine on the long holiday period surrounding the Idul Fitri. As a result, a number of dog-bite victims, sometimes numbering as many as 50 in a single day, are not being supplied with the life-saving vaccine.

According to Wirasandhi, "We only have one supplier (of vaccine) from Jakarta and, because of the long holiday, perhaps we will only have shots available again on September 29, 2009.

The doctor said that in the current shortage of vaccine his team was trying to optimize the situation by giving the small amount of remaining vaccine to people bitten by dogs in areas know go be heavily infected with rabies.

"The remaining vaccine we will use for patients bitten in the hand or shoulder. For this alone we have given out 30 dosages of vaccine," explained Dr. Wirasandhi.

Adding the public's concern over the continuing rabies epidemic in Bali, Radar Bali confirms the fourth rabies-related death in Tabanan regency with the death of a 78 year-old-man on Wednesday, September 23, 2009. The elderly farmer presented himself with all the clinical signs of rabies, expiring 18 hours after his admission to the Sanglah General Hospital.

A doctor at the hospital explained that once clinical symptoms of the disease have manifested themselves there is little that doctors can do to forestall death.

Among the clinical symptoms are nervousness; a fear of water, light and open spaces; and foaming at the mouth.

Of the four suspected victims of rabies hailing from Tabanan the Sanglah General Hospital has taken brain-fluid samples from three victims in order to verify the illness.

The 78-year-old Tabanan man is the 11th person to die of rabies in Bali since November 2008.

The son of the man said his father was bitten by a dog on July 18, 2009, while sleeping in an open outer pavilion of the family compound. When the old man was taken to a local community health center but was not administered vaccine.