Almost every district of Taitung is affected by rabies: authorities
Rabies has continued to spread in Taitung after a new case of the viral disease in an infected ferret badger was confirmed in the eastern county, animal disease control officials said yesterday.
The new case in Taimali — the first reported from this Taitung township since the rabies outbreak in 2013 — means almost all of the eastern county has been affected by the disease, the officials said.
So far only Tawu and Chinfeng townships in the county have not yet seen confirmed rabies cases, but Wu Tzu-he, head of Taitung’s Animal Disease Control Center, said these two areas probably have already fallen victim. The only unaffected area of Taitung is its offshore islands, Wu added.
Taiwan had been declared rabies free until July 2013 when ferret badgers were found to have been infected by the disease in Taitung in July 2013. Since then, 222 rabies cases have been confirmed in Taitung, with 218 of them being infected ferret badgers, officials said.
The latest case in Taimali was reported on Aug. 7 after a dog killed a ferret badger. After examining the dead animal, the Council of Agriculture confirmed it was a rabies case.
Wu called on people to avoid wild animals and not to abandon their pets. Wu also urged pet owners to have their animals receive rabies vaccinations every year.
When they spot dead animals, people must not handle them and instead must report to the authorities, Wu said.