Experts from Europe, the US and Asia invited by the Central Epidemic Command Center to an international conference on rabies in Taipei last week shared disease prevention experiences and offered advice on oral vaccine distribution evaluation, post-exposure prophylaxis for people who have had contact with bats, measures for repeated exposure and rabies-infected organ transplants.
WHO specialists, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts on rabies, US Department of Agriculture experts, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control’s director for Asia, as well as Chinese virologists attended the conference on Friday and were invited to visit the Animal Health Research Institute on Saturday for further discussion.
The experts recommended that further research be undertaken on how the rabies virus strains found in Taiwan had evolved and how virulent they are.
The habitat and distribution of ferret-badgers and risk assessment for contact between ferret-badgers and other animals and between with humans should also be investigated, they said.
The center said the specialists advised in relation to bats, the most conservative prevention measure should be taken. People who have been bitten or scratched by a bat should receive post-exposure vaccines.
Booster doses for people who have bitten or scratched again after receiving post-exposure prophylaxis regimen, it was recommended that the WHO guide be followed, which advises that two booster doses be administered, regardless of the number of antibodies present.
In relation to the case reported recently of the transmission of virus from a rabies-infected organ donor, the visiting experts said chance of such an occurrence is extremely low, however, the history of animal contact of donors with suspected encephalitis should be investigated and specimens be kept for further testing, according to the center.
They also said the US CDC guide can also be followed, which recommends that the risk of organ transplantation be explained to organ receivers and a consent form be signed.