The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday confirmed three cases of rabies in wild Formosan ferret-badgers, putting Taiwan back on the list of countries with the virus after it was declared free of domestic animal rabies cases in 1961 and human infections in 1959.
The council made the announcement following a meeting with specialists earlier yesterday.
Tsai Hsiang-jung (蔡向榮), director-general of the COA’s Animal Health Research Institute, said the council received samples from three dead Formosan ferret-badgers from a laboratory at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) School of Veterinary Medicine last month. The institute conducted a series of tests before confirming the samples were positive for rabies.
Pang Fei (龐飛), a professor at the NTU veterinary school, said two of the three ferret-badgers were found last year in the lower mountainous areas of Nantou County’s Yuchih (魚池) and Lugu (鹿谷) townships, and the other in Yunlin County’s Gukeng Township (古坑).
Autopsies of the three ferrets revealed inflammation in the protective membranes covering the brain, but initial testing for canine distemper virus came up negative, Pang said, adding that rabies tests were only conducted last month after other viruses were ruled out.
The World Organisation for Animal Health’s recommends taking brain samples from live animals to test for rabies, but because the Formosan ferret-badgers were already dead when the lab received the tissue samples it had to use other methods as well to make sure the results were accurate, he added.
Chang Su-san (張淑賢), director of the council’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, said the council will report to the organization by today.
Taiwan became one of the 10 countries or areas in the world without any domestic cases of animal rabies in 1961, Chang said, adding that the institute has guarded against the virus in dogs since 1999 and in bats since 2008, and has not found any trace of it.
However, since the bureau received the report on the ferret-badgers on June 24, it has taken emergency pre-emptive measures by providing 12,000 free vaccines for dogs kept near the mountainous areas that the ferret-badgers inhabit, and 5,000 dogs have already been inoculated, she said.
The bureau has about 100,000 emergency animal rabies vaccines prepared and is expecting another 80,000 imported vaccines by the end of next month, Chang said.
When added to the approximately 230,000 vaccines already on the market and another 200,000 vaccines to be ordered soon, about 600,000 vaccines will be available for pets in Taiwan, she said, urging all dog owners to bring their pets to the vet to get inoculated.
MONITORED BY JETS: Chinese aircraft included Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, suggesting that China refueled its short-range jets during flight The air force scrambled again yesterday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense said, the latest increase in tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the nation, often in the southwestern part of its ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). Over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial
The boyfriend of Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) was yesterday questioned by prosecutors after Kao on Tuesday reported that he had abused her. Raphael Lin (林秉樞) was taken in for questioning at the Grand Forward Hotel in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋) yesterday morning, and police confiscated his mobile phone, iPad and a data storage device, prosecutors said, adding that they have applied to place Lin in judicial detention. Lin, who does not reside at his registered address, might attempt to flee or tamper with evidence, they said, adding that he has allegedly threatened victims in earlier abuse cases
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
Italian Representative to Taiwan Davide Giglio has praised the nation as a “silent giant” of the global supply chain, saying he is looking forward to establishing closer cooperation with Taiwan’s world-leading semiconductor sector. “Taiwan’s role in global production chains has largely gone unnoticed until recently. This may have to do with the fact that Taiwanese companies do not always enjoy strong brand power,” Giglio said in an interview with the Central News Agency. However, a global chip shortage has brought to light Taiwan’s strength in such a strategically important sector, he said. Italy, a leader in the automotive sector, was quick to realize