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A Most Potent Rodent

Bali Health Officials Concerned that Gianyar Man Infected with Rabies following Rate Bite.

(11/27/2010) A patient is warded in the intensive care section of Bali's Sanglah General Hospital, diagnosed as suffering from rabies suspected to have been spread via a rat bite.

Kompas.com reports that the 40-year-old man from the village of Serongga (Gianyar), Komang Sudiarta, is in a "stage two diagnosis" of suspected rabies suffering tingling "pins and needles" sensations over his entire body. Doctor IGB Ken Wirasandhi, who is a member of the contagious disease team at the hospital, says the man has yet to display clinical symptoms of rabies and medical investigators have yet to confirm with certitude that the man was bitten by a rat and not a dog.

Dr. Wirasandhi told the press that to date the only proven vector of rabies in Bali is dogs, with no confirmed sources from any other animal. In theory, however, the disease can be spread via the bites or saliva of any warm-blooded mammal.

"If a rat bite has produced these symptoms then we are obliged to respect the indications and take quick action," he said. At the same time, however, Dr. Wirasandhi cautioned the public not to panic and to continue following guidelines for safety when dealing with any bite wound. Chief among these is to immediately clean the wound with soap and detergent and then seek medical attention.

The death toll after a more than one-year outbreak of rabies in Bali has now surpassed 105 people.

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