The Council of Agriculture is today to inaugurate a center for laboratory proficiency testing for rabies diagnoses — the first of its kind in Asia authorized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), officials said yesterday.
The center is being established under the council’s Animal Health Research Institute, according to a statement.
The center’s opening is to be attended by OIE regional representative for Asia and the Pacific Hirofumi Kugita, experts from France, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as local officials, the council said.
The establishment of the center is significant because it is the first in Asia, showing that Taiwan plays a vital role in the world’s shared objective of eradicating rabies by 2030, institute section chief Tseng Chun-hsien (曾俊憲) said.
The institute since 2014 has been working with the Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife in France — the world’s leading laboratory for monitoring wildlife health — studying the pathogenic agents of rabies mediated by ferret-badgers.
Another collaborative project between the two was approved by OIE in June, Tseng said.
While other Asian nations, such as China and Japan, had also expressed their intention to have the center established in their nations, the OIE chose Taiwan after confirming that the nation’s disease control techniques and policies meet its expectations, he said.
In addition to elevating the nation’s leverage on the global stage, the center would introduce disease management systems from the EU, he said, adding that it would help other Asian nations establish testing standards for rabies.
Rabies can be transmitted between animals and humans, and it causes acute inflammation of the brain and the central nervous system, making animals more aggressive, but vaccination can prevent infection.
Most of the nation’s rabies cases occur in wild animals, especially ferret-badgers, and the disease had spread to 84 townships as of last month, data showed.
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