Taitung County town­ship re­ports first ra­bies case; of­fi­cials ‘con­cerned’

The China Post - - LOCAL -

An­i­mal dis­ease con­trol of­fi­cials in Taitung County, eastern Tai­wan, have ex­pressed con­cern that ra­bies might have spread af­ter the town­ship of Taimali ( ) re­ported its first ra­bies case.

Af­ter an out­break of ra­bies in the eastern county in 2013 — the first resur­fac­ing of the dis­ease in Tai­wan since 1961 — only town­ships in the moun­tains or on the coast first re­ported cases, af­ter which the dis­ease spread to Taitung City and sur­round­ing val­leys.

Wu Tze-he ( ), di­rec­tor of Taitung's An­i­mal Dis­ease Con­trol Cen­ter, said that apart from Taitung County's off­shore is­lands, all town­ships that have sent sam­ples for ex­am­i­na­tion have con­firmed ra­bies cases.

So far, only two town­ships — Tawu ( ) and Chin­feng ( )— have not sent spec­i­mens, but Wu sus­pected that the dis­ease could have made its way into them, too.

Since July 2013, Taitung has re­ported 222 ra­bies cases, in­volv­ing fer­ret-badgers (218 cases), masked palm civets (two cases), house shrews (one case), and a puppy that was bit­ten by a fer­ret­bad­ger.

Taitung is the most se­ri­ously in­fected area in terms of ra­bies in Tai­wan.

In view of the latest case, the Bureau of An­i­mal and Plant Health In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine of the Coun­cil of Agri­cul­ture called on the public Satur­day to get their dogs and cats vac­ci­nated against ra­bies to en­sure the safety of both an­i­mals and hu­mans.

Sta­tis­tics com­piled by the bureau show that from 2013 to Aug. 13 this year, it had tested 1,556 an­i­mal spec­i­mens coun­try­wide, and among them, 482 fer­ret-badgers, five masked palm civets, one house­hold shrew and one puppy had tested pos­i­tive.

he bureau said that 70 town­ships in nine coun­ties and cities in Tai­wan have re­ported ra­bies cases. The dis­ease so far has been con­fined mainly to wild fer­ret­bad­gers, with only a few cases in­volv­ing masked palm civets.

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