Rabies continues to be a risk in the resort island's capital, Denpasar, and its neighboring regency Gianyar, underlining the persistence of the deadly epidemic that has haunted Bali since late 2008. "Yes, the 2 regions still have an active status and we ask the public not to transport dogs into or out of those regions," provincial husbandry agency head I Putu Sumantra said.

The cited infection rate classification standard groups infected areas into "very active", "active", "6 months", and "12 months", referring to the time between reports of infections. Any area that has had a case of rabies reported within a month is defined as "very active", and a case within 3 months warrants an "active".

"In the last 3 months we have found rabies in dogs in those 2 regions," Sumantra said. He said that 22 villages in Badung, Buleleng, Jembrana, Karangasem, and Klungkung were now listed as "6 months". The only regency listed as "12 months" is Tabanan.

The fight against the epidemic is apparently far from over. Sumantra revealed that this year [2011] rabies has infected 18 new villages, bringing the total number of infected villages to 282. "We have set a target that by early next year [2012] the epidemic will not be able to infect a single new village," he said.

Provincial health agency head I Nyoman Sutedja said that as of August [2011], the epidemic had killed 18 people, far less than last year, when 86 people died of rabies.

"The number of bite cases is still very high; up to 150 cases per day. Yet, most of the bites do not result in fatalities because a large number of the dogs have been inoculated and the bite victims have managed to immediately get proper medical treatment, including antirabies vaccines," he said.

As of 12 Sep 2011, the 2nd phase of the island-wide mass vaccination program, targeting pet and stray dogs, has covered 4350 banjar (traditional neighborhood organizations) or 99 percent of the targeted 4370 banjar.

The agency estimated that 77 percent of the island's total dog population of 302 000 had been inoculated.