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Rabies (Canine) and (Human) in Indonesia (Bali)

07 Sep 2015

The media has reported on the ongoing rabies problem in Bali, Indonesia. Canine rabies has now been identified in 159 villages on the island. The Animal Husbandry Agency (AHA) blames the spread of rabies virus on the increasing number of strays in Bali; many unvaccinated dogs are abandoned in nearby forests by their owners. The AHA are also concerned that rabies has been identified in tourist areas such as Ubud, Gianyar, Kuta and Badung.

A total of 14 human deaths from rabies virus infection have been recorded thus far in 2015. This compares with 1 in 2013 and  2 in 2014. Buleleng regency is the worst affected area with 5 deaths, followed by Karangasem (3), Clungkung (2) and one each in Bangli, Gianyar,Tabanan and Badung. There were no deaths in Denpasar or Jembrana.

The Bali Health Agency reportedly has 16 000 vials of rabies vaccine, an adequate amount for 2 or 3 months of treatment. Regencies and cities can access vaccine from the agency if they have insufficient supplies. Residents can access vaccines at rabies centers in 9 regencies/cities as well as in all hospitals and public health centers throughout Bali.

Advice for Travellers

Bali is a popular destination for UK travellers. The rabies situation is not yet under control in Bali and continues to pose a risk for travellers. Travellers should be aware of the risk and avoid animal contact and report any bites promptly. Pre-exposure vaccination should be considered for those at risk.