New Death Brings Tabanan Rabies Toll to 4

DENPASAR ~ A fourth suspected rabies victim from Tabanan regency died in Sanglah Hospital on Wednesday a day after being admitted with advanced symptoms of the killer disease.

He was a 78-year-old man from Banjar Biaung, Penebel, who was bitten on the finger by his neighbour’s dog about two months ago, was transferred from Tabanan hospital on Tuesday and admitted to the isolation ward. He died at 5.15am on Wednesday.

The case is the first in the Penebel district of Tabanan regency, indicating that the disease is still spreading. Tabanan’s three earlier fatalities, two women and a man, were from the Tabanan and Kediri districts.

Sanglah’s rabies treatment team leader Dr Ken Wirasandhi said the disease had appeared to be too advanced in the latest patient, who was already exhibiting anxiety and other phobic symptoms, for the anti-rabies vaccine to be effective. All the hospital could do was to treat him for his symptoms.

The results of laboratory tests were expected to confirm he died of rabies.

The man’s 49-year-old son said his father’s dog bite wound had been cleaned when he was bitten in the middle of the night and he had received further treatment at a health clinic the next day.

“After the wound healed, there were no complaints whatsoever,” said Sutantra.

But last weekend he became fevered and dizzy and was taken to the Penebel health clinic, which referred him to Tabanan hospital. He was admitted to Sanglah on Tuesday.

Dr Wirasandhi said it was unlikely he had been given any anti-rabies vaccinations because he was bitten before rabies vaccine was available in Tabanan.

The man was the fourth person from Tabanan suspected to have died from rabies since the disease broke out in south Bali in September last year, after a 10-year absence.

The others were a man, 55 and a woman, 24, from Buahan village, Tabanan, and a woman, 47, from of Banjar Pande, Kediri.

The latest death brings to nine the number of known fatalities from rabies. There were several other deaths in the Ungasan area of the Bukit last year before authorities confirmed rabies had re-emerged in Bali.

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