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Losing Neighbors, One Bite at a Time

Denpasar Child Latest Addition to Growing Toll of Rabies Deaths in Bali.

(3/19/2011) A 6 year-old girl living in Denpasar is the latest rabies victim in Bali. Nawal Indiani, a resident of Jalan Sedap Malam in Denpasar, died at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital on Thursday, March 17, 2011.

Doctor Ken Wirasandhi, the secretary of the rabies team at the hospital, told Kompas.com, "two days before she was admitted, the patient experienced breathing difficulties and refused to eat."

The child's parents confirmed that their daughter had suffered a dog bite to her right arm several months ago but that her wound did not receive a thorough cleaning nor was the child given the anti-rabies vaccine that would have saved her life. Compounding this mistake, the dog, owned by a neighbor, was immediately killed instead of being isolated, observed and tested for rabies.

Dr. Ken reminded the public not to ignore even the simplest dog bite, advising that anyone bitten use soap to clean the wound under running water for 15 minutes. The urgent and thorough cleaning of any wound helps to reduce the amount of virus absorb into the victim's system. After cleaning, anti-rabies vaccination must be given as soon as possible at the nearest health center or hospital.

The anti-rabies vaccine is given over a course of three injections in order to establish antibodies able to effectively fight off the rabies virus.