Researcher warns of Bali rabies threat 

Thousands of people in Bali at risk of rabies infection

A Charles Darwin University researcher is urging Bali holiday makers to take care after his research found a large number of local people had died due to rabid dog bites since a rabies outbreak in 2008.

CDU School of Environmental and Life Science Dr Rama Jayaraj has returned from Indonesia where he was conducting research on the high risk of rabid dog bites and human deaths in Bali.

Dr Jayaraj said that although rabies was recognised as an animal disease, it was one of the most significant Human Zoonosis (transmittable from animals to humans) of all time and continued to affect tens of thousands of people worldwide.

“The control of dog rabies is crucial, as almost all human rabies result from bites by rabid dogs,” he said.

As the lead researcher Dr Jayaraj collaborated with Professor Wayan Batan and Dr Abdul Azis from Udyana University in Denpasar, Bali. They investigated the District Health Centres in the South of Kuta, the district of the original rabies outbreak in 2008.

Dr Jayaraj said that he and his team were shocked to find that 130 people bitten by stray dogs with rabies had died in two and a half years from 2008 to 2011.

“Dog rabies seem to be recurring in many areas where it had once been controlled, possibly because of increasing population density and mobility of people and dogs, with thousands of people in Bali at risk of rabies infection,” he said.

“Most of the victims are local, living in rural parts of Bali, with not access to vaccines.”