Another rabid animal reported, bringing total to 80 since July


TAIPEI — Taiwan reported another confirmed rabies infection yesterday in a Formosan ferret-badger in Taitung County, southeastern Taiwan, bringing the total number of reported cases to 80.

All but one of the cases in 39 townships across eight counties and cities involved Formosan ferret-badgers. Taitung reported a rabid Asian house shrew in late July.

The government is continuing to provide free vaccine to Chiayi and Taitung counties, targeting pet dogs and cats in mountainous areas there.

Taiwan will have imported more than 2.27 million doses of rabies vaccine by September, sufficient to vaccinate the estimated 1.5 million dogs and cats in Taiwan, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center for Rabies.

Meanwhile, health authorities have approved 1,449 applications from people seeking human rabies vaccine and 23 from those seeking rabies immune globulin since Taiwan reported the first cases of rabies infections in wild animals in mid-July. Rabies immune globulin is only administered after a bite from an infected animal or a suspected infected animal.

In related news, four rabies control specialists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in Taiwan to help with Taiwan’s efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

The four experts, who arrived a day earlier, were scheduled to attend a meeting called by the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine later in the day to help assess the need for distributing oral rabies vaccination bait in the mountains.

They will also head to mountainous areas around Taiwan and meet with local animal experts in Miaoli, Nantou, Pingtung, Taitung and Hualien counties to help locate the habitats of wild animals, according to Chang Su-san, head of the inspection bureau.