Mass Vaccination Program Covers 45 Percent of Bali’s Dog Population

DENPASAR ~

The ongoing mass vaccination program against rabies in Bali has covered some 45 percent of the total dog population on the island so far, stated an official.

Sumantra expressed optimism that the target can be achieved since the program, which started on April 15, will be carried out until July 31, 2014.

“The program has been conducted in 1.6 thousand villages of the total three thousand villages that will be targeted,” he said.

Sumantra called on the public to make the program successful by taking their dogs for vaccination against rabies.

A total budget of Rp12 billion has been allocated for the fifth mass vaccination program against rabies, which is part of the government’s effort to make Bali free from rabies.

Of the Rp12 billion, Rp5.6 billion is from Bali’s budget and Rp6.4 billion is from the state budget.

The number of dog bite cases in Bali tended to increase, which is more than 100 cases per day, Dr Ketut Suarjaya, the head of the Health Office of Bali, recently remarked.

Bali has resolved to become rabies-free by the year 2015 in order to maintain its reputation as the world’s most famous resort island. Nationally, the central government has targeted the entire country to become rabies-free by 2020.

Over the past few years, Bali authorities have routinely carried out mass vaccination programs against rabies, targeting stray and domestic dogs.

“We have deployed 90 staff members during the ongoing mass vaccination program,” Putu Sumantra recently noted.

The Balinese animal health office has intensified efforts to control the population of stray dogs on the tourist island.

“The stray dog population increases by 2.5 million per year in Bali, and therefore, it should be controlled,” Head of the Balinese Animal Health Office Vet. Nata Kesuma noted here on Wednesday.

Sterilization is one of the measures taken to control the stray dog population, he pointed out.

The local authorities have outlined five strategies to eradicate rabies, notably the establishment of rural cadres, vaccination, euthanization, rabies-carrier supervision, and stray dog population control, Kesuma stated.

The fifth mass vaccination program against rabies is part of the government’s effort to make Bali rabies-free and is being implemented since April 15 across the island, targeting 350 thousand stray dogs.

Officially launched in the Gunung Sari Village, Seririt, Buleleng District, where several dog bite cases were recently reported, the fifth mass vaccination program will be carried out until July 31.

Those five strategies have been conducted continuously to prevent the worst effects and reduce the number of dogs identified having rabies in Bali.

The impact of the rabies spread, he said, is very influential on the economic aspects because it will affect the image of Bali tourism and bring psychological impact for the community.

“People are uncomfortable due to the issue of rabies can threaten human if got bitten by dogs infected with the disease,” he said.

He said that it is Balinese community lifestyle to pet dogs as a house guard. However, due to the freedom of this animal, it will quickly transmit rabies from one to another.

He recognized that within six months in 2008 throughout the Regencies/ City in Bali Province, all dogs were already infected with rabies. However, from 2010 to 2014 we’ve had strategy through mass vaccination.

“Between 2008-2009, the strategy had not patterned. However, once it stepped in 2010 until now we already have a strategy,” he said.

He noted that as many as 36 dogs spread across the regencies/ city identified positive for rabies. “The data of rabies positive dogs starting from January to May 2014, recorded as many as 36 dogs,” he said.

He said that the data recorded the highest rabies positive dogs is 11 cases in Buleleng, Jembrana (10), Gianyar (5), Klungkung (4), Tabanan (3), Karangasem (2) and Bangli (1).

“As for the city of Denpasar and Badung regency there is no dog identified positive for rabies,” he said.

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