Tue, Jul 30, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Council urges media restraint as rabies cases rise

SENSATIONALIST:The COA said local media should avoid stoking public panic over the disease which so far has only been reported in mountainous areas

Staff writer, with CNA

Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Chang Su-san holds up a rabies information poster at a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

Another wild Formosan ferret-badger has been found to be infected with rabies, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the nation to 12 as of Sunday, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.

As of Sunday, 33 ferret-badgers had been tested for rabies with 12 of the tests positive, the council said in a press statement.

This was one more than the number of cases confirmed the previous day, the council added.

The council said all the confirmed rabies cases have found been in Formosan ferret-badgers, a nocturnal mammal that feeds mainly on fruit, insects, small animals and worms.

No human infections have been reported so far, the council said.

Moreover, it said, all of the infected ferret-badgers were found in mountainous regions — six in Nantou County, two in Taitung County and one each in remote mountainous districts in Yunlin, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Tainan.

The council urged Taiwanese news outlets to refrain from writing headlines claiming that all five special municipalities are now rabies-infected regions.

Such sensationalist reporting only serves to generate public panic, the council said.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said it has also tested 10 Formosan gem-faced civets, one Formosan least weasel, one ferret, two small Chinese civets and one crab-eating mongoose for the disease, but the tests were all negative.

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