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Turning the Corner in Bali's War on Rabies

Vaccination Over Elimination Proving Effective in Reducing Rabies in Bali.

(4/9/2011) As Bali completed the first round of island-wide dog vaccinations against rabies on March 30, 2011, statistics demonstrate a decrease by 48% in human rabies cases for the period December 1, 2010 through March 30, 2011, compared with the same period the previous year.

Vaccination advocates are citing this decrease as a significant milestone in the fight against rabies in Bali.

In the same period, reported dog rabies cases have decreased 45%.

Bali's humane rabies control program is being led by the Government's provincial and regency livestock departments with operational support from Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), Yudisthira Animal Welfare and Indonesian Animal Welfare (INAW) associations. The just completed mass vaccination included funding support from the Australian government and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).

International scientists and disease control experts, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend mass vaccination of dogs as the most effective means of controlling and eradicating rabies.

Abandoning elimination in favor vaccination, the objective of the Bali program is to vaccinate at least 70% of the island's population of 300,000 dogs and to maintain their immune status by a second and, if necessary, third round of vaccinations until the disease is eradicated. Euthanasia is only used for rabid and incurably sick dogs, as well as for unvaccinated dogs that have been bitten by a suspect dog.

Head of Bali Animal Husbandry Agency Ir. Putu Sumantra said: "The government feels that the first phase of the mass vaccination program showed a good result. We are going to continue the mass vaccination program - being more effective and targeted in 2011, to ensure Bali will be free of rabies in 2012. I would like to ask the people of Bali to support the next vaccination program in May. During vaccination days, please tie or chain your dog so the officers can get easier access to them."