TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In Dompu District, West Nusa Tenggara Province, rabies has killed five people, amid ongoing efforts by the central and local governments and related agencies to control the outbreak of the disease. The rabies outbreak had forced related authorities to declare Dompu District as a rabies-infected area, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) revealed in a press statement made available to Antara.
Head of Dompu District's Livestock and Animal Health Services Zainal Arifin was quoted as saying that there had been 544 dog bite cases from potential rabies vector animals between late 2018 and early February 2019. To deal with this problem, the Ministry of Agriculture's Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services (DGLAHS) has taken immediate action to control the current rabies outbreak in the district.
The directorate has dispatched a joint veterinary team to conduct investigations and the immediate vaccination of dogs against rabies, and convened vaccination training programs for the district's livestock and human health officers. The vaccination training was co-organized by the DGLAHS and the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO ECTAD).
The two parties also held a training on the Procedures for Integrated Bite Case Management (IBCM) to improve the knowledge and skills of officers to prevent and control rabies in Sumbawa Island.
According to Arifin, his people did not just conduct the vaccination of dogs, but also attempted to restrict the movement of rabies vector animals, such as dogs, from Dompu to other districts.
"Up to now, all districts in Dompu have reported dog bite cases in their areas," said Zainal.
Meanwhile, I Wayan Masa Tenaya, head of the Denpasar Diseases Investigation Center of the Ministry of Agriculture, was quoted as saying that in 2017, the government had actually declared West Nusa Tenggara Province free from rabies. However, following the cases earlier this year, Dompu District has now been declared as a rabies-infected area, he told attendees of the Rabies Prevention and Control Socialization program in Dompu District.
In dealing with this situation, his team would continue working with all stakeholders, especially the animal health and human health sectors, and the local government to jointly control and eradicate rabies, Tenaya said.