Published Date: 2012-03-06 02:30:41
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies - Indonesia (02): (MU) canine, human
Archive Number: 20120306.1061764
RABIES - INDONESIA (02): (MALUKU), CANINE, HUMAN
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 5 Mar 2012
Source: The Jakarta Globe, Antara report [edited]
At least 50 people have died of rabies in the recent weeks in a reported outbreak in the south west district of Indonesia's Maluku province, local officials said on Monday [5 Mar 2012]. "Rabies has killed at least 50 people, and hundreds of others have been infected [that is, exposed to the risk of the disease]," Bernabas Orno said, adding that the outbreak has been reported to Maluku governor Karel Albert Ralahalu.
The deadly virus has hit this remote province hard in recent weeks. The rabies virus is spread through contact with infected animals, who carry the virus in their saliva. Those bitten by an infected animal can avoid contracting the deadly disease if they clean the wound and receive a rabies vaccination within hours of contact. But rabies vaccine supplies in the remote Southwest Maluku district have run out, Barnabas said. No hospitals in the district have the vaccine, and efforts to control the spread of the virus have failed to make an impact, he added. "We are badly in need of the provincial government's help," Barnabas said. Without help, Barnabas feared that the rabies epidemic in the Southwest Maluku district would only get worse.
"We are afraid the number of fatalities will continue to increase if the provincial government fails to send the anti-rabies vaccine.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[It has been reported previously in ProMED-mail (references below) that Ambon and the Maluku Islands had been free of rabies up to August 2003, when the 1st outbreak of rabies occurred. It is believed that rabies virus may have been brought in with dogs (or more probably consignments of dog meat) imported from Kupang or Kendari to meet a shortage of dog meat, which is a favourite dish for Maluku inhabitants, locally called awe." Children were disproportionately affected initially because they lacked any fear of domestic animals. Subsequently, efforts at dog control and deployment of vaccine have failed to contain the disease, leading to the current alarming situation, with apparently no strategy in place to improve it.
A map showing the location of Ambon and the Maluku Islands can be accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maluku_Islands. - Mod.CP]