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A Bite Much Worse than its Bark

Bali Records its 18th Rabies Fatality of 2011.

(8/7/2011) A 39-year-old Klungkung man, I Wayan Suartawan, has died at Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital of rabies.

The man, who was the father of two, was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, August 4, 2011, and died the following day. According to the Bali Post, the man was the 18th fatality attributed to rabies in Bali in 2011.

Suartawan was reportedly bitten several months ago by a puppy purchased in Denpasar. Angered, Suartawan reportedly killed the dog when a better course of action might have been to isolate the animal for observation to determine signs of rabies.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the man exhibited symptoms consistent with rabies, a diagnosis that must be finally confirmed via laboratory tests now underway.

Dr. Nyoman Sutedja, the head of the Bali Health Service, said that in order for Bali to rid itself of rabies within two years time and be certified as “rabies free” it must pass a two-year period with no new confirmed cases.

Government data shows a decline in dog bites incidents in July 2011. Although daily reports number above 100, the daily rate of reported “bites” island-wide appears on a downward trend with January (164), February (161), March (167), April (161), May (159), June (171) and July (134).