Sun, Jul 06, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Rabies restricted to mountainous areas, bureau says

Staff writer, with CNA

Authorities have managed to contain the rabies epidemic to the wild Formosan ferret-badger population in mountainous regions, almost a year after the deadly disease was confirmed in the nation, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.

The first rabies case in more than half a century was confirmed on July 16 last year, ending the nation’s 52-year rabies-free status, the bureau said.

Among the 3,844 suspected infections that the bureau inspected through the end of last month, only 379 Formosan ferret-badgers, one Asian house shrew and one dog bitten by a ferret-badger were confirmed to have been infected with rabies.

The infected animals came from 62 villages and townships in nine cities and counties across the nation.

However, the spread of the disease has apparently been limited by the bureau’s efforts to set up stations in high-risk areas to vaccinate cats and dogs, along with a campaign to get people in cities to bring their pets to clinics for vaccination.

The bureau said that the vaccination rate among cats and dogs in mountain villages was 94 percent, while the rate in the nine cities and counties where the infected ferret-badgers were found was 78 percent.

The average pet vaccination rate nationwide was lower, at 68 percent, but the bureau vowed to continue to push for vaccinations, with a target of more than 70 percent.

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