New Death Sparks Renewed Rabies Fear
Officials fear that rabies may have reached Nusa Penida, one of the few parts of Bali to remain free of the disease, after a local woman died of the disease last week.
Head of rabies management at Sanglah Hospital Dr Ken Wirasandhi said that two patients from Klungkung regency had died of suspected rabies last week. He named them as 43-year-old Nyoman Kartika and 58-year-old Wayan Citra.
“They had both been bitten by a dog in the past,” he said.
Wirasandhi said that officials were concerned because Wayan Citra was from Nusa Penida, the offshore island that forms part of Klungkung regency. No cases of rabies amongst dogs on Nusa Penida have been recorded during the current rabies outbreak.
Citra was brought to Sanglah on December 5 suffering from advanced rabies symptoms. She died in the early hours of the morning on December 7.
According to family members Citra had been bitten by a dog about a month before falling ill.
“The victim was bitten on her left leg, and never got the anti-rabies vaccine,” he said.
Head of the Bali Health Department Nyoman Sutedja said he was concerned by the possible emergence of rabies on Nusa Penida.
“This is the first fatality due to exposure to rabies in Nusa Penida,” he said.
Sutedja said that residents on Nusa Penida were less aware of the dangers of rabies than people in other parts of Bali where the disease was long known to be present. He said ministry officials would take urgent action to warn locals.
“We will conduct public service announcements in schools and villages, and we will then start vaccinating stray dogs there,” he said, adding that Nusa Penida was an area that would pose considerable challenges in the fight against rabies, because of its remote nature, rugged terrain and poor mobile phone signal coverage.
An 18-year-old man from Gianyar died at Sanglah of suspected rabies last month. It was the first human case of the disease, which has claimed at least 137 lives in Bali since 2008, in four months.Filed under: Headlines