A new case of rabies was discovered in a ferret-badger in Hualien County’s Yuli Township (玉里), following five cases in Tainan and Pingtung, Chiayi, Yunlin and Taitung counties earlier this year, the Council of Agriculture said on Saturday.
A person in Hualien was bitten by a ferret-badger while trying to drive it away from their scooter, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said.
In other cases, ferret-badgers with rabies have reportedly run into people’s homes before biting them, the bureau said, citing a woman who was attacked by a ferret in Chiayi.
Animals with rabies become more aggressive and often bite, the bureau’s Animal Quarantine Division chief Peng Ming-hsing (彭明興) said.
When attacked by a wild animal, people should remember the animal’s features, wash wounds with water and iodine solution, and go to a hospital immediately to see if any vaccinations are required, Peng said.
People should contact the local quarantine bureau to catch the animal, or if it dies, ask the bureau to examine the body, he said.
About 50,000 to 70,000 people worldwide die of rabies annually, 95 percent of whom are infected by dogs, Peng said, citing data from the WHO and World Organization for Animal Health.
The bureau has since 2013 received reports of 41 ferret-badgers and six masked palm civets with rabies, he said, adding that rabies in cats and dogs had been eliminated in Taiwan since 1961.
However, to avoid pets contracting rabies again, pets should be kept from contact with other animals and should be vaccinated regularly, the bureau said.
“Do not abandon pets, or touch or catch wild animals. Bring pets and domesticated animals to the vet to receive rabies vaccines annually,” it said.
The bureau identified Yunlin’s Linnei Township (林內) and Pingtung County’s Sandimen Township (三地門) as areas where new rabies infections were reported in the past month, bringing the number of affected areas up to nine counties and 79 townships.
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