Woman in Gianyar dies of rabies 2yrs after bite
After this year’s fifth death from rabies, Bali Health Agency reiterated that it was vital for any resident bitten by a dog to immediately seek the anti-rabies vaccine (VAR) that is available free-of-charge at state-owned hospitals around the island.
Ni Made Wenti, 55, a resident of Puseh hamlet, Ketewel, in Gianyar regency died on Thursday after two nights of intensive care at Sanglah hospital in Denpasar. During her last day, Wenti displayed clinical signs of rabies infection: hypersalivation (excessive production of saliva), hydrophobia (fear of water), aerophobia (fear of drafts) and photophobia (fear of light).
Once symptoms have presented, survival is rare, even with the administration of proper and intensive care.
Wenti was bitten on the foot by a dog about two years ago, however, never sought the VAR because the wound was considered small. The Bali Health Agency estimated that Wenti’s case, so far, had the longest virus incubation period on the island since the first rabies outbreak in 2008.
“Her husband said that Wenti was bitten around January 2010,” said head of Bali Husbandry Agency Putu Sumantra, stating that Bali recorded 82 rabies fatalities in 2010.
Wenti was the 144th rabies fatality in Bali since 2008 and the fifth this year. Almost all this year’s casualties have been victims bitten by a rabid dog more than four months previously; hence, the rabid dogs had been difficult to find. The Ketewel area had already been declared a rabies-infected area, but over the past year, there have been no reports of rabid dogs.
“The rabies virus reaches the central nervous system or the brain, depending on the location of the bite. It could take one or two years before clinical signs of rabies can be seen,” head of Bali Health Agency I Ketut Suarjaya said on Friday.
There were two other people from Wenti’s neighborhood bitten by the same dog. They have had the VAR and until now have not displayed any symptoms.
According to WHO data in 2011, rabies kills around 55,000 people every year, mostly in Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, stage three of the canine rabies vaccination program on the island has reached 70 percent, or around 300,000, of the dog population. Sumantra said there would be around 375,000 more vaccine doses supplied by the FAO in August.
“The vaccine supply problem has been resolved and there will be enough vaccine for all the dogs in Bali,” said Sumantra.
Previously, the FAO had urged mass vaccination of puppies and control of the dog population on the island.