February 6-12, 2009
On a morning walk this week from Double Six Beach to Kuta, I counted seven loose dogs without collars or rabies vaccination tags. Others had collars but no tag. It seems incredible that the authorities are still allowing these potentially dangerous animals to roam free on Bali’s tourist beaches.
Perhaps the facts about this terrible infection are not widely known. First, once symptoms appear there is no cure. Bali is now a declared rabies area, so if you were bitten by a dog here and the dog could not be caught, quarantined and observed for at least 10 days, you would have no alternative but to have a series of anti-rabies vaccinations (five in total) and one dose of immune globulin.
Even if you had been previously vaccinated against rabies, you would still need at least two additional doses. You couldn’t risk the alternative. Second, a rabies death involves extreme disorientation and pain over a period of about 10 days. There would be few worse ways to die.
The World Health Organisation dictates that rabies-declared areas should, “Enact/enforce legislation on dog movement restriction…” and selectively and humanely “capture and eliminate dogs not in compliance with legislation…” In Bali this means dogs without tags on beaches should be removed.
Already some doctors in Australia are advising tourists to have rabies vaccinations before coming here and this would deter some from coming. If it becomes widely reported (soon) that unvaccinated dogs are roaming Bali’s beaches, many will not come.
John DanielFiled under: Letters