Sat, Jul 28, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Rabies vaccines no longer administered after any bite

RISK PROFILE:Council of Agriculture data showed that all suspected stray animals tested negative for rabies, while wild animals in 82 townships were found to carry the virus

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Due to a shortage of rabies vaccines for humans, the vaccine is to be temporarily unavailable to people bitten by stray dogs or cats, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

There is a serious global shortage of rabies vaccines, the centers said, adding that the shortage is expected to continue until 2020.

The CDC on Wednesday called a meeting attended by experts and government officials to discuss rabies prevention measures under the circumstances.

The meeting concluded that animals with potential rabies exposure are limited to Formosan ferret-badgers, Formosan masked civets, house shrews (local to Taitung), bats and other animals exhibiting abnormal behavior associated with rabies, the agency said.

Only those exposed to animals potentially carrying rabies in Pingtung, Chiayi, Yunlin Nantou, Taitung or Hualien counties, or in Kaohsiung, Tainan or Taichung are eligible for a post-exposure vaccine, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

People who were exposed to bats in New Taipei City would also be eligible, Chuang added.

People who have been bitten by stray cats or dogs would no longer be given a vaccination, but it may be administered if the victim shows suspected rabies symptoms within 10 days, Chuang said.

Following the WHO’s rabies vaccination guidelines, the meeting concluded that post-exposure prophylaxis would be reduced from five doses to a four-dose schedule — on the day of exposure, and on the third, seventh and 14th days after exposure, Chuang said.

In addition, pre-exposure vaccines would be temporarily unavailable to people who are planning to visit nations with a higher risk of rabies infection, he added.

Council of Agriculture data as of last month showed that animals that tested positive for rabies were found in 82 townships in the nine counties and cities, and all tests on suspected stray animals were confirmed negative, the CDC said.

Moreover, three bats were in 2016 reported to be carrying a new genotype of lyssavirus, which is in the same group of viruses as rabies and causes a similar mortality, it said.

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