Paradise island battles rabies10th August 2010
The Indonesian government is concerned that a rabies epidemic in Bali will threaten the island's inhabitants, as well as its tourist trade.
Over the past two years, 76 people have died of rabies in Bali. As a result, Indonesia is planning to vaccinate all dogs on the island.
So far this year, health authorities in Bali have recorded about 34,000 dog bite cases on the island.
Bali animal husbandry agency chief Putu Sumantra said that authorities on the island aimed to vaccinate all dogs in Bali by the end of the year, starting in late September.
He said that there were still at least a few hundred thousand dogs on the island that needed vaccination, and that the animal husbandry agency would employ 200 teams of people.
In the United States and Australia, state travel authorities have issued warnings about traveling to Bali as a result.
Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, and people do not usually own dogs there.
But people often have dogs as pets in Bali, an island of Hinduism surrounded by sea-going Muslim communities, and there are many strays as well.
In Sumatra, tens of thousands of stray dogs have been killed in order to keep people from dying of rabies.
Nyoman Sutedja, head of the Bali health agency, said that there were about 34,000 cases of dogs biting people in Bali so far this year, compared to 28,000 dog bites in the whole of 2009.
Sutedja said that Bali lacked adequate rabies vaccines for the human population, and that health authorities were worried about the increase in cases.
Several days ago, a 43-year old Balinese woman died of rabies.
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Title: Paradise island battles rabies
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 15754
Date Added: 10th Aug 2010