Rabies has been confirmed in the tourist island of Bali in Indonesia and tourists have been warned to avoid all contact with dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals.
The disease is often fatal, so tourists are urged to seek advice on vaccinations before travelling to Bali. The warning from Australian health authorities after a meeting this week between all chief health officers, after information from Bali was discussed by Australia’s Communicable Diseases Network (CDNA).
Bali tourism websites are also posting warnings about the outbreak.
Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young issued a warning this afternoon, informing tourists that Bali has lost its “rabies-free” status.
The island of Bali has been regarded as free of the disease though it has existed in other parts of Indonesia.
“We have been advised that authorities in Bali have taken steps to control the situation including implementing a program of culling and vaccination in dogs and vaccination of people in villages affected,” she said.
“Anyone travelling to Bali or any rabies-endemic region should be aware of the risk and avoid close contact with either wild or domestic animals.”
Dr Young encouraged tourists to seek medical advice about whether pre-travel rabies vaccination were required.
“Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal in any area where rabies exists should seek immediate medical attention locally and when they arrive home, as the disease can be fatal.”
Rabies can be treated by vaccine, but is a major health problem in Asia and Africa where 55,000 people die each year.
According to the website http://www.baliforum.com , local newspapers have reported that three people living in Southern Kuta have died after bitten by dogs.
However local officials in Badung as well as in Sanglah General Hospital denied relationship between their deaths and rabies.
Whilst the symptoms were admitted as close to rabies, brain infections have been concluded.
Indonesia’s central government has ordered Balinese health officials complete more detailed tests.