Sat, Aug 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Teams create bait to beat rabies in ferret-badgers

Staff writer, with CNA

With the rabies virus mainly found in ferret-badgers, agriculture authorities in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have developed an oral rabies vaccine-laced bait that is intended to control the disease in the wild, the Council of Agriculture said on Thursday.

The rabies virus was detected in wild ferret-badgers in 2013, after Taiwan had been free of the disease since the early 1960s, prompting the council’s Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) and the OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies to cooperate in 2014 in the development of rabies antibody tests, AHRI biologics division head Tseng Chun-hsien (曾俊憲) said.

Last year, a safety and efficacy evaluation of the oral rabies vaccine for Formosan ferret-badgers was completed and none of the 15 vaccinated animals died or showed any clinical signs of the disease during the 180-day observation period, Tseng said.

The bait includes eggs, pork and beef. Researchers have also tried using the ingredients in the development of other oral rabies vaccine baits and have conducted oral rabies vaccine safety tests on masked palm civets, Tseng said.

These experiments are expected to achieve breakthroughs next year and in 2020, Tseng added.

It took France 10 to 20 years to eliminate rabies in the country after the use of safe, but potent, rabies vaccines, Tseng said.

Given the small size of Taiwan, where ferret-badgers mostly live in low-lying hills, the use of rabies vaccines could shorten the time it takes to eliminate it here, he said.

Meanwhile, the AHRI in June joined the OIE Twinning project, partnering with France’s Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife to enhance diagnostic capacity and expertise at AHRI and help the institute qualify as an OIE Reference Laboratory, Tseng said.

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