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Rabies (Human and Animal) in Indonesia (Bali) (Update)

06 Aug 2015

The media in Australia has reported on the rabies situation in Bali, Indonesia as the island is a popular tourist destination during the Australian winter.

The number of human deaths from rabies has continued in 2015, the total number now stands at 12, this compares with 2 cases in 2014. One of the most recent cases was a 12-year-old boy who died one month after sustaining a dog bite to the thigh. It is reported that he did not seek medical attention for the wound.

With the increase in human cases of rabies, the Bali government has responded with the mass vaccination of dogs, however, culling of strays is being carried out in areas where animal rabies has been reported.

The Bali Animal Welfare Association have stated that culling is a backward step as the proven way to defeat rabies is by vaccination, not culling.

The availability of post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is doubtful; tourists have apparently had to fly to Jakarta - or in the case of Australians, home - for post-exposure treatment.

Advice for Travellers

Bali is also a popular destination for UK travellers. The rabies situation is not yet under control in Bali and continues to pose a risk for travellers. Travellers should bemade aware of the risk and avoid animal contact and report any bites promptly. Pre-exposure vaccination should be considered for those at risk.