Suspected rabies in tourist area of Bali, Indonesia
In the tourist areas of Bali, IFAW funds a mobile vet clinic, the Yudisthira Bali Street Dog Foundation. This vet clinic treats thousands of dogs every year for skin disease, ticks, worms and malnutrition and carries out spay/neuter programs to control the dog population but now the dogs are facing a new threat.
Four human deaths in the Kuta region of Bali have been reported and officials suspect rabies, leading to some calling for a complete cull of dogs in the area. At this point the cause of the deaths is currently undetermined but it is believed that two of the victims died up to two months after being bitten by dogs.
IFAW have contacted local authorities asking them to re-call their message of a mass cull and offering to work with them and Yudisthira to find a solution to the potential health risk. We have offered support in finding a more humane solution to the problem which will involve a mass vaccination program for the animals in the area, community education for bite prevention and management and access to human vaccination from local health clinics.
Contrary to popular belief, many of the ‘street dogs’ in Bali are actually people’s pets. The dogs are what are known as ‘owned roaming’ dogs – they have owners but are not fenced in and are let free to roam unleashed. Killing pets and street dogs alike is not the solution and mass culling has not been shown to be effective in the spread of rabies in the past.
Bali has been rabies free for many decades and IFAW understand the potential public risk but with the cause of the deaths currently unconfirmed, we are urging caution and restraint and offering our resources through Yudisthira to find solutions.