Fri, Aug 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Center says no new rabies cases found as of Wednesday

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Eighty-two ferret-badgers and one Asian house shrew have been found infected with rabies as of yesterday, with both the number of infections and the affected areas unchanged, because there were no new confirmed cases of infection on Wednesday, the Central Epidemic Command Center for rabies said yesterday.

The center added that as of Wednesday, 308 wildlife carnivores had been tested for rabies, of which 82 had tested positive — all of them ferret-badgers.

As for concerns over the virus possibly jumping to non-insectivorous mice, which surfaced after one case of a rabies-positive Asian house shrew (an insectivore) was confirmed last month, the center reaffirmed that it is rare for mice to carry and transmit the virus.

Citing this year’s WHO Expert Consultation on Rabies, the center said that the examination of rodents in rabies areas has revealed that instances of rodent rabies infections are rare and the infected mice die before exhibiting clinical symptoms. They are thus not capable of transmitting the virus.

This indicates that these animals do not serve as reservoirs of the disease and do not play a substantial role in spreading the disease, the center said, quoting the report.

The potential of Asian house shrews being carriers of the communicable disease and the WHO report’s conclusions were discussed during a consultation conference meeting held by the Council of Agriculture between government officials and disease prevention experts on Wednesday.

Agreements reached on the directions of major disease prevention and control measures include plans to conduct surveillance and contain the disease in the mountains, research into the mode of transmission of the virus among wildlife, and the sheltering and management of stray cats and dogs.

Other topics under discussion were evaluation of the oral vaccine distribution plan, and the procedure and method of diagnosing rabies.

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