Hualien County officials yesterday warned the public to be alert to suspicious behavior by wild animals or pets, after another case of a wild ferret-badger infected with rabies was reported.
A ferret-badger caught late last month in Guangfu Township (光復) tested positive for rabies, the Hualien County Animal Health Inspection and Prevention Office said recently.
Daan Village (大安) head Hsu Chen-Hsiung (徐振雄) yesterday said that he found his daughter playing with a ferret-badger near their home, which he and some neighbors caught and took to the local fire department, which sent it to be tested for rabies.
The incidence of wild animals in the county infected with rabies has increased notably over the past five years, Hualien County Animal Epidemic Prevention Center Director Lin Kuo-tong (林國棟) said.
The public should avoid approaching wild animals, and pet owners should have their pets checked regularly, Lin said.
It is illegal to abandon domestic pets, with violators subject to fines between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000, Lin added.
People bitten by an animal should wash the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes, and then clean it with 70 percent alcohol/ethanol, povidone-iodine or a similar antiseptic, and seek immediate help from a healthcare facility, Lin said.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said that it received 74 requests for rabies tests last month, with the animals brought to local animal health inspection and prevention offices to be tested, including 17 ferret-badgers.
Six of the ferret-badgers tested positive for rabies, including four in Hualien County, it said.
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