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Rabies (Human and Canine) in Indonesia

20 Jul 2012

A growing problem of canine rabies has been reported from Flores Island in Indonesia. The island has a history of canine rabies and in the last 15 years there have been 205 human deaths as a result of rabies virus infection.

More recently it has been reported that dogs suffering from rabies have been identified in more urban areas as well as rural areas. Rabies infected dogs have been found in Maumere, the capital of Sikka regency and the largest town on Flores.

The Sikka health agency reports that every day, more than 20 individuals report bites from dogs suspected to have rabies. In the first half of 2012, there have been two human deaths from rabies virus infection and 1032 reports of dog bites. In 2011, 2866 dog bites were reported; there are around 50 000 dogs on the island.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers to Indonesia and Flores Island should be made aware of the rabies risk and be advised to avoid all contact with animals and dogs in particular. All animal bites should be reported and assessed carefully. Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.