Rabies alert level lowered after vaccination success in Bali

The Bali Health Agency has lowered the rabies alert level on the island following a successful dog vaccination programme, pioneered by WSPA.

The Jakarta Globe recently reported a significant drop in human rabies deaths on the island, down from 83 in 2010 to 26 in 2011. Authorities have attributed this decline to the mass vaccination of dogs.

Proof that an island without rabies is not an island without dogs

When rabies broke out on the tourist-friendly island of Bali, authorities acted swiftly to try and stamp it out: sentencing the roaming dog population to a cruel and unnecessary death by strychnine poisoning.

WSPA quickly stepped in, promoting mass vaccination as the only effective way to control rabies and encouraging officials to carry it out. 

In 2010, WSPA funded the first phase of an island wide dog vaccination scheme and working closely with the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA). The government took over funding phase two of the programme in 2011, with the third round of vaccinations due to take place at the end of March.   

Ray Mitchell, International Campaigns Director said: “In Bali we’ve proved what science already shows: vaccination works. Not only has the human death rate from rabies on the island dropped by almost 70%, but hundreds of thousands of dogs’ lives have been saved.

“Unfortunately we’ve heard reports of localised culling still taking place, despite the obvious success of the vaccination scheme. We will be working with the Balinese authorities to address this and ensure that rabies is never used as an excuse for killing dogs in future.”

A blueprint for a global campaign

The success in Bali has become a blueprint for WSPA’s global Red Collar campaign which has so far seen vaccination programmes rolled out into Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with more work to follow.

Ray Mitchell added: “Rabies is a global problem with a global solution. We want all governments to fight rabies with collars, not cruelty.”

Our Red Collar campaign demands an end to the needless and cruel killing of dogs in response to rabies. Find out more here >>

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