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Indonesia Fighting Rabies Outbreak

June 12, 2000

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Authorities have ordered all dogs in an eastern Indonesia region to be slaughtered to quell a rabies outbreak that has killed at least 11 people in the last two weeks.

Another 120 people have been hospitalized, said Wayan Arsana, the top medical officer in Ngada district on Flores island, about 875 miles east of Jakarta.

He estimated there are about 90,000 dogs in the region and said Monday that some owners have already complied with the death order.

``We are beating the dogs over the head or shooting them,″ Arsana said. ``We are killing them any way we can. All are then being buried immediately.″

Arsana said none of the district’s medical clinics had rabies vaccine and supplies weren’t expected to arrive soon.

Rabies is a viral disease found in the saliva of infected animals. It is often transmitted to other animals and humans by bite.

Left untreated, rabies attacks the nervous system and can cause a painful death.

In most parts of Indonesia, dog populations are small because the predominantly Muslim population considers them unclean and does not keep them as pets. But the Ngada region is mainly Christian and most families own several dogs.

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