Two ferret-badger samples tested positive for rabies yesterday, bringing the total of animals found to be infected with the disease up to 78, of which all were ferret-badgers with the exception of one Asian house shrew, the Central Epidemic Command Center said yesterday.
The two infected ferret-badgers were found in Greater Taichung’s Sinshe District (新社) and Chiayi County’s Zhuqi Township (竹崎), where infected animals have been found previously.
The number of affected counties and cities remains unchanged at eight, the center said.
A total of 3,994 doses of rabies vaccines for animals were distributed to nine counties and cities for private or public animal shelters yesterday, bringing the number of doses distributed to 19,402 to date, the center said.
As of late next month, 2.27 million doses of rabies vaccine for animals will be held in stock in private or public animal shelters.
The command center warned the public not to make any contact with wild animals, citing the case of a woman who was reportedly bitten by a ferret-badger when she tried to kill it.
The center said that animals showing a change in behavior, such as stopping eating and drinking, showing anxiety and aggression, experiencing photophobia or frequent urination, should be reported to local centers for animal disease prevention and control through the hotline: 0800-761-590.
The center also reported yesterday that four US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff — two epidemiologists, one veterinary epidemiologist and one wildlife ecologist — arrived in Taipei on Saturday.
They will reportedly be staying in Taiwan for between one and two weeks to help the nation’s agriculture and health departments undergo disease risk assessments, and offer advice on active surveillance for rabies in wildlife and evaluations of the feasibility of placing oral vaccines in the mountains.
Meanwhile, a new case of H7N9 avian influenza was confirmed in China’s Guangdong Province on Saturday, the center said.
A 51-year-old woman who worked in the poultry butchering business was confirmed as being infected and was admitted to hospital, a report said.
The command center has raised its travel health notice for the province by one level to “Alert” to warn travelers to take enhanced precautions.
The health alert level for Hebei Province was also raised to “Alert,” following a confirmed case of H7N9 infection last month, while other provinces in China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, remain at the “Watch” level.