This is what the government is striving to do through relevant agencies in Sumbawa by conducting mass vaccinations for dog
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia has begun intensifying the series of activities on rabies control in Sumbawa in view of the upcoming International MotoCross Grand Prix (MXGP) in Samota area, Sumbawa, in June.

The activities on rabies control comprise mass dog vaccinations, training on Integrated Bite Case Management (TAKGIT) and public education campaign targeting communities and MXGP organisers, and the formation of a Rabies Alert Cadre (KASIRA), according to a statement issued by FAO Indonesia on Thursday.

"Rabies is a disease transmitted from animals to humans (zoonosis) for almost 200 years. This deadly disease has a mortality rate of up to 99.9 percent in humans. Dogs are the main source of rabies transmission," according to Director of Veterinary Public Health, Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Syamsul Ma'arif.

"It can also be transmitted by cats and monkeys through deep bites or scratches," Ma'arif noted while kicking off rabies control activities in Sumbawa Besar.

One of the steps to prevent rabies in transmitting animals, especially dogs, is through vaccination of at least 70 percent of the dog population in an infected area, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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"This is what the government is striving to do through relevant agencies in Sumbawa by conducting mass vaccinations for dogs," Ma’arif pointed out.

This year, the Ministry of Agriculture announced rabies cases in West Sumbawa Regency as "extraordinary events" – an alert for increased transmission cases and deaths that neared an outbreak situation.

It was the third regency in West Nusa Tenggara Province, with such a situation, after the government declared the rabies situation in Sumbawa and Dompu Regency as "extraordinary events" two years ago.

"Through this rabies control programme in Sumbawa, we are optimistic of making the upcoming MXGP international event a success and make Indonesia a tourism destination that is safe from rabies," Regional Secretary of Sumbawa Regency Hasan Basri noted.

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Training on Rabies Treatment
A total of 98 representatives of animal and human health personnel from 24 sub-districts in Sumbawa Regency participated in the TAKGIT training.

The training provided participants with the necessary education on ways to properly handle rabies bites and cases as well as visits to animal health centres and community health centres designated as rabies control centres.

"Although the death rate in humans due to rabies is very high, it can be prevented by early treatment of bite cases from animals that transmit rabies through the administration of Anti Rabies Vaccine (VAR) and Anti Rabies Serum (SAR) at health facilities, such as Community Health Centres (Puskesmas) and hospitals," Head of the Zoonoses Sub-directorate at the Ministry of Health Sitti Ganefa Pakki stated.

All those efforts are made by the Indonesian government in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

"The FAO is committed to working closely along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, and subnational governments by providing the necessary support for effective rabies control in Indonesia," FAO Representative in Indonesia and Timor Leste Rajendra Aryal stated.

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"Rabies is a lethal disease that may disproportionately have devastating impacts on rural and farming communities, and we need to take immediate action to control this deadly disease," Aryal added.

The FAO has been collaborating with the Government of Indonesia in controlling rabies in several provinces since 2011 through awareness raising, capacity building Dog Population Management (DPM) pilot programmes, and provision of vaccines and information systems using the One Health approach maintaining a close human-animal-environment interface.

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Translator: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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