Ten more blood samples taken from ferret-badgers in the nation’s eight rabies-affected counties and cities sent to the central testing center were confirmed infected with rabies on Thursday, the Central Epidemic Command Center for rabies said yesterday, emphasizing that ferret-badgers are still the main species affected by the virus.
As of Thursday, 62 out of 194 wildlife carnivore samples had tested positive for rabies, all of which were from ferret-badgers, the center said.
The command center held its fourth meeting on the rabies situation yesterday, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chang Feng-yee (張峰義) said, adding that the meeting was presided over by Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國).
The meeting asked the Council of Agriculture to continue its supervision of local authorities over the implementation of vaccination programs targeting cats and dogs in high-risk areas, and to speed up the risk assessment and analysis of the feasibility of distributing oral vaccines in the mountains.
“The center has also directed the Ministry of the Interior to advise local governments to further promote prevention and control of rabies through the neighborhood administrative system” to build awareness in each household, Chang said.
“Based on experiences in foreign countries, children under 15 and elderly people are at a higher risk of rabies infection,” Chang said. “Little children tend to ignore scratches and bites, while elderly people living alone often do not pay enough attention to bites or wounds. This rules out early treatment, which can prevent rabies [from developing].”
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) also cautioned people who have been evaluated to receive post-exposure rabies vaccines that “the rabies vaccine, which consists of five shots in total, has to be administered according to the schedule.”
“Falling short of completing the whole regimen or interrupting the schedule might result in dire consequences,” Chuang said.
Chuang added that there are now 60 hospitals in the nation, with at least one in each county or city, that have stocks of rabies vaccines for humans.