The most important part of my visit, however, was to make a site visit to the Island of Flores, where Ewaldus is doing is field work, in co-operation with the local animal health authoroties there.
The topic of his research: economics of rabies control. Indeed, a little different topic than most topics I discussin this blog, Nevertheless it is quite interesting. When I had to fly over, I had to make a stopover on Bali and on the airport there was a banner warning for rabies on the island.
|Warning banner as a welcome on the airport of Bali (after 15 hours of flying I was not able to keep my phone steady, so it is a bit fuzzy).|
Basically, rabies is a zoonotic disease that, in humans is always fata once clinical signs appear. The main transmission routes is through dog bites. There is a lot of information to be found on the internet, for instance here and here.
In Flores island alone, rabies is the cause of 19 human deaths per year. After the introduction of rabies, the local government has been taking quite a lot of efforts to eradicate rabies again from the island, without succes until now. Ewaldus has carried out an economic study to evaluate the costs that were associated with the control measures carried out since the year 2000 on Flores island. Currently, rabies control measures on Flores Island include mass vaccination and culling of dogs, laboratory diagnostics of suspected rabid dogs, putting imported dogs in quarantine, and pre- and post-exposure treatment (PET) of humans.
|Ewaldus (orange shirt) and his data collection team in one of the villages in the field research|
|One of the benefits of travel: Ewaldus took me to Kelimutu lakes, a beautiful spot, where volcanic lakes have totally different colours that even change over time.|