Rabies Strikes Tabanan: Man’s Death Sparks Vaccine Rush

DENPASAR ~ A rabies death in Tabanan regency that prompted health authorities to urge people who might have had contact with diseased animals to seek vaccination has sparked a rush by local residents for anti-rabies vaccinations that has all but exhausted stocks held at Tabanan Hospital.

Meanwhile veterinary authorities are waiting for 5,000 anti-rabies vaccines for dogs.

The scare was caused by the death of Wayan Diadynya (62), of the rural village of Buahan in Penebel, which this week was confirmed as due to rabies. He died on August 22 but had been bitten by a dog in April last year.

Rumours of rabies in dogs, cats and monkeys are fuelling public concern in Tabanan, but this week officials had not worked out who should declare the outbreak.

“That’s not my authority,” Tabanan Population Protection Board head Wayan Gde Artha Adnyana said on Wednesday.

Of 36 people vaccinated at Tabanan Hospital in the week from August 26 to Tuesday, September 1, 15 are from Buahan and Tunjuk villages. The local health department has urged anyone in the area who has been bitten by a dog to get anti-rabies vaccinations.

Five people from Kedira and five from Subamia village were vaccinated. Three people who were bitten by dogs in Tabanan city, three people from the Penebel area, and people from other areas, including Marga and Lumbung villages in West Selemadeg, were vaccinated.

The deputy director of Tabanan Hospital, Dr Agus Suryadi, said this week people should take no risks with rabies, which has an incubation period of three weeks to a year and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear.

He urged people, especially those at risk from Buahan and Tunjuk villages, to seek vaccinations directly from the hospital.

But he admitted the hospital was running critically short of vaccine supplies. “We received 50 packages and after vaccinating 36 people who had been bitten by dogs, there are only 14 packages left,” Dr Suryadi said.

Adnyana said disaster relief funds had been depleted. “In fact, current funding for disaster management is a minus,” he said.

He said the budget deficit did not reflect badly on the commitment of the authorities to rabies protection as funds could come from the health department.

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