Denpasar Girl, 6, Latest Rabies Victim
A six-year-old Denpasar girl is Bali’s latest rabies victim. She died at Sanglah Hospital on March 17 after falling ill several months after a neighbour’s dog bit her on the arm.
The girl, who lived in Jl Sedap Malam, Denpasar, did not have her bite-wound thoroughly cleaned or get a three-shot post-exposure anti-rabies vaccine.
Sanglah rabies team chief Dr Ken Wirasandi said: “Two days before she was admitted to hospital she experienced breathing difficulties and refused to eat.”
Wirasandi said her parents confirmed the girl had received no treatment after the bite and the dog had been killed immediately instead of being isolated and observed to check for signs of rabies.
He said it was vital that if bitten people thoroughly washed the wound in running water for at least 15 minutes — which can reduce the entry of the rabies virus into muscle tissue by up to 90 percent — and sought vaccination at a hospital or health centre as quickly as possible.
Accurate official rabies deaths figures are generally unavailable from Bali’s health authorities but the toll is approaching 130 since the disease was finally identified in late 2008 following a series of unexplained deaths in the Ungasan area of the Bukit earlier that year.
The provincial government, which had previously ordered island-wide culls of stray dogs to reduce numbers, switched last September to a programme to vaccinate 70 percent of Bali’s dogs, under a scheme fostered and assisted by the expatriate-run and Ubud-based Bali Animal Welfare Association.
The next round of vaccinations is scheduled to begin in May.
Many banjars (local communities) and some district authorities have however maintained culling programmes to keep stray dog numbers down.Filed under: Headlines