Mass vaccination planned to eradicate rabies in Bali
A rabies epidemic has been sweeping through Bali, killing dozens of people. The Bali government has launched a campaign to deal with the epidemic, which will tie in with World Rabies Day on 28 September. Their aim is to vaccinate 400,000 dogs against rabies, which will help to protect locals and tourists visiting the island.
The Bali government will be working closely with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to help deal with rabies in a humane manner. Often, dogs in Bali are treated as pests and culled by gruesome means. By working with WSPA, they hope to limit the cruelty that's inflicted on dogs.
If the vaccination campaign is successful, the government hopes to eradicate rabies completely by 2010. Eradicating rabies instead of culling rabid dogs is a more effective way to deal with the problem.
For example, Mexico vaccinates millions of dogs every year and the disease is close to extinction. Meanwhile in Indonesia, a third of the dog population were culled between 1998 and 2001, but rabies is still a serious problem.
Bali is a popular tourist destination. The island offers stunning beaches, great nightlife, an interesting culture and delicious food. Balinese cuisine is often spicy and seafood is a popular choice. Bali is also frequented by honeymooners seeking a romantic retreat.
If you plan to visit Bali, you can be vaccinated against rabies at your local GP, but the disease can be easily avoided. Rabies is transmitted in a dog's saliva, and it can only be passed onto humans through a bite. It can also be passed on if the dog's saliva somehow gets into an open wound. Steer clear of dogs to avoid getting bitten.
If you are bitten by an animal whilst you are on holiday, keep an eye out for symptoms of rabies, which may include malaise, headaches and fever. If you start to feel unwell, visit a doctor immediately.