Victim No. 16 Dies Roped to Tabanan Hospital Bed

TABANAN ~ Bali’s 16th rabies fatality, a 46-year-old labourer from Klating in Kerambitan who had not been vaccinated after a dog bite three months ago and was taken to hospital only after he became seriously ill at home on Thursday last week, died roped to a bed in Tabanan hospital’s isolation ward early on Saturday.

He is the ninth fatality from the disease in Tabanan, the worst affected regency. Rabies was first confirmed in the Bukit area of Badung in November 2008.

Tabanan’s rabies control centre secretary Dr Gede Sudiarta said this week the man had showed classic rabies symptoms and he expected the results of medical forensic tests to confirm he died of the disease.

The man had been bitten on the knee by a dog in mid-September, said Dr Sudiarta. His bite wound had been treated by a medical orderly and the man had not received the three-shot course of anti-rabies injections that should be started within 48 hours of sustaining a suspect bite.

He was admitted to Tabanan Hospital at 8pm on December 3 and moved to the hospital’s isolation room at 5am next day. His condition deteriorated rapidly. Nursing staff had had to tie him to the bed because of the uncontrollable paroxysms associated with rabies in its final stages.

Medical specialists acknowledge there is no cure for rabies once symptoms appear. Modern palliative treatment involves managing symptoms and making the patient comfortable, or administering supportive care.

Neurological symptoms and medical complications can partly be managed with the use of sedatives, narcotic analgesics, antiepileptic drugs and neuromuscular blockers.

The man’s father said he had not been aware of the importance of getting the anti-rabies vaccine after a dog bite and implored anyone bitten to immediately seek immunisation.

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