Rabies is suspected to have claimed 2 lives in Bali on Sunday [20 Feb 2011], with one victim said to have been bitten by a dog as late as 2 years ago. The 2 victims, one from Klungkung and the other from Bangli, died at RSUP Sanglah hospital, Denpasar. Both were taken there in critical condition. "Their clinical symptoms show that they have been infected with the rabies virus," Ken Wirashandi, the Rabies Problem Tackling Secretary in RSUP Sanglah [hospital], said on Monday [21 Feb 2011], as quoted by Tempointeraktif.com.

Wirashandi said that the family of the 2nd patient stated that the latter had been bitten by a dog 3 months ago but was not given any vaccine at that time. The victim began showing clinical rabies symptoms, such as seizures, 4 days before his death, he said.

The 1st victim was said to have been bitten by a dog 2 years ago. A day later, the dog died. This victim also was not treated with vaccine.

Head of the Bali Husbandry Agency Putu Sumantra said that the agency promptly deployed monitoring teams in the field following the incident to prepare for dog vaccinations. However, he said that he was still waiting for lab tests of the victims' blood and saliva samples to confirm rabies was the cause of death. Sumantra waved off the notion that the incidents served as proof that vaccination programs had failed.