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Bali Dogged by Growing Rabies Toll

Death of 45 Year Old Woman Brings Death Toll to 40 in Continuing Rabies Epidemic in Bali.

(3/15/2010) The latest death of a 45 year-old woman, Ni Ketut Ardini, on Monday, March 8, 2010 has brought to 40 the number of fatalities tied to the continuing scourge of rabies in Bali. The woman from the village of Sanda in Pupuan perished shortly after her admission to the Tabanan Hospital in West Bali.

Dr. Gede Sudiartha told the press that after being treated for only 12 hours in an isolation ward of the hospital, Ardini succumbed to what remains a suspected case of rabies pending confirmation by laboratory tests. Upon admission the woman exhibited symptoms emblematic of rabies, including foaming from the mouth, aggressive behavior, respiratory difficulties, an inability to swallow and nausea.

Initial tests of the woman's saliva and eye fluids have been negative for the rabies virus. Brain fluids drawn from the dead woman's body are sill being tested by medical experts.

A day prior to her death the woman still managed to work in family farming lots. Approximately 1.5 months prior to her death Ardini suffered a dog bite from a family pet on the fingers of her left hand. Refusing medical treatment the woman only washed the wound with soap and water.

The same dog reportedly bit four other family members who remain in good health As a medical precaution, the four bite victims have now been given anti-rabies serum. The family members were compelled to travel to Sanglah and Buleleng to obtain the serum, due to a lack of serum supplies in Tabanan.

The latest death has precipitated more calls for a massive culling of dogs in Tabanan and other area of Bali. On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9 & 10, 2010, a total of 88 dogs were destroyed in the Banjar Bumi Ayu area of West Bali, including street dogs and a number of vaccinated dogs netted on the street during the sweeping action carried out by animal control officers and local villagers.