The best way to reduce rabies is through immunization of dogs."
Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA News) - Bali Province Administration is seeking cooperation from Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan to understand the methods of combating rabies, which is transmitted by infected dogs.

Head of Livestock and Animal Health Office of Bali I Putu Sumantra said here on Monday that Kumamoto Prefecture has done an exemplary measure in combating rabies.

"We expect a cooperation in the aspects of communication, information and education to support people who have pet dogs at home by vaccinating them," Sumantra stated.

He said that although the number of rabies case in Bali had declined, the major problem in eradicating the disease was the large number of stray dogs in the region.

"The best way to reduce rabies is through immunization of dogs," he added.

In 2016 alone, the local authorities had injected around 400 thousand dogs with rabies vaccine.

However, it is believed that there are still numerous stray dogs, which have not been vaccinated, roaming in the region.

Kumamoto Prefecture was considered to have proper animal health centers that contribute to rabies countermeasures.

"But in Bali, we lack animal health centers, as well as the facilities and the human resources," he pointed out.

Therefore, the local authority welcomes investors who are interested to develop bigger animal health centers in the island.

The Administration of Bali and Kumamoto Indonesia Friendship Association (KIFA) are seeking to establish a foundation to gather funds for rabies control.

The cooperation is a follow-up of the visit by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika to Kumamoto, during which an MoU of cooperation had been signed by the two governments.

The issue of rabies receives great importance in Bali as dogs have always been an integral part of Balinese culture.

In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, with the support of the USAID and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, has been assisting the local government to rapidly control the spread of the deadly rabies virus in Bali through an innovative strategy centered on comprehensive mass vaccination of dogs.

Since May 2011, the provincial and local governments of Bali, in coordination with the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, have been carrying out an island-wide dog vaccination campaign to ensure that 70 percent of the dog population is vaccinated, thereby preventing the transmission of the virus.

As a result of the efforts, the FAO recorded a decline in the number of human rabies cases from 11 per month in 2010 to just one per month the next year.

Following mass vaccination of dogs, there was another major decline in 2012 and 2013, when the number of reported cases dropped to only one in 2013.

The FAO noted that the model developed in Bali was now being modified and used in other affected parts of Indonesia to progressively control and eliminate the virus from the entire country.

(Reporting by Ni Luh Rhismawati/Uu.a059/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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