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Bali's Rabies Crisis Spreads to New Areas

Five of Nine Bali Regencies/Cities Now Confirmed as Rabies Positive.

(10/31/2009) Radar Bali confirms that Bali's rabies epidemic has now spread to five of the island's nine regencies and metropolitan areas. According to Ida Bagus Alit, the Head of Bali's Animal Husbandry Department (Dinas Peternakan) confirmed that Karangasem and Bangli now have confirmed cases of the deadly disease in their dog populations, while previously cases of rabies were confined to Denpasar, Badung and Tabanan.

Alit explained: "After the Galungan holidays we sent laboratory samples to the Balai Veteriner. The results show that there are several confirmed cases of rabies. Because of this, we have sent special teams to socialize information on rabies to people living in those two regencies (Karangasem and Bangli). We will also step up the elimination of wild dogs in those two areas."

In Karangasem the positive samples come from dogs tested in the villages of Tianyar Barat, Tianyar Tumur, Tianyar Tengahad the village of Ban. Meanwhile, in Bangli the confirmed case of rabies was found in the sub-district of Bangli.

Alit told the press that his department has only been allocated Rp. 600 million (US$60,000) to cover socialization, education, vaccination and elimination of wild dogs across the entire province of Bali. Most of that amount has been spent on publications and socialization. "On television alone we have spent Rp. 57 million (US$5,700). We have also spent p. 80 million (US$8,000) on billboards, Rp. 25 million (US$2,500) on banners and Rp. 50 million (US$5,000) on honorariums for staff giving innoculations. This leaves a balance of around Rp. 209 million (US$20,900).

Whether the remaining amount is sufficient to address the expanding epidemic in Bali remains to be seen, according to man in charge of dealing with the rabies outbreak.

Alit has told breeders of Bali's famous Kintamani of dogs in Bangli to vaccinate their animals immediately to avoid having their pets eliminated by teams of officials.

Official records kept by the government show at least 40 confirmed cases of rabies among Bali's dog population since November 2008.