Man in Taitung bitten by rabies-infected ferrat-badger
By Ann Yu , The China Post
July 24, 2013, 12:39 am TWN
A man in Taitung was sent to hospital for treatment Monday after being bitten by a rabies-infected ferret-badger, government officials confirmed yesterday.
The ferret-badger, which somehow made its way into the man's home on Monday, died Tuesday morning, apparently due to the effects of the disease.
The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) under the Council of Agriculture (COA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare held a late-night press conference yesterday to explain the case.
According to both bureaus, the ferret-badger was confirmed to have rabies. They also said that the man, who was bitten at home in Taitung, was sent to a nearby hospital for vaccine and immune globulin injections immediately. Officials noted that because Taitung did not obtain rabies vaccines, the hospital needed to transfer vaccines from other counties.
According to the COA, Taiwan was removed from the world's top 10 non-rabies epidemic countries after it was found to have rabies infected ferret-badgers.
They noted that the death rate from being bitten by a rabies-infected animal is virtually 100 percent if one does not immediately receive treatment after being exposed.
According to the BAPHIQ, after Taiwan was removed from the list of non-rabies-infected areas, Japan and Singapore became the only two countries in Asia on the list.
The CDC stated that a bitten person should receive up to five vaccinations in one month. "Because by the time one shows symptoms the fatality rate is 100 percent, any bitten person should receive their first vaccine shot within 24 hours," the CDC explained. "Then the second shot in three days, the third shot in seven days, the fourth shot in 14 days and the fifth shot in 25 days."
The CDC added that a person who is exposed to rabies should be vaccinated immediately before symptoms show.
Scholars said that rabies have reappeared in Taiwan for the first time in 50 years.
Taiwan has reported three recently discovered rabies cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), according to the COA.
"But we have not yet found rabies in canines, felines or people, so we shouldn't panic too much," the council said.
Rabies, a fatal disease that affects animals and humans, which is caused by a neurotropic virus, was recently detected in the remains of wild Formosan ferret-badgers, a veterinary research team confirmed last week.
This means rabies has reappeared in Taiwan for the first time in 50 years, said Victor Fei Pang, a professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine of National Taiwan University, during a meeting convened by the COA.