Outside experts to be invited to decide on rabies experiments
By Joy Lee ,The China PostThe Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI) yesterday announced that experts who do not work for the government will be invited to join a committee to decide whether planned rabies experiments on animals should go ahead.
August 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
A meeting regarding rabies prevention measures was held by the Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday, with many experts joining to discuss the topic.
Tsai said that the rabies virus found in Taiwan and a strain found in China are around 10 percent different, so it is necessary to gather more information through experimentation, particularly regarding the incubation period after being infected with the virus, as well as what amount of the virus is needed to infect dogs.
“Without all the information it will be hard for officials to decide what kind of prevention measure to take,” Tsai said.
Chin Chuan-chun, a professor at National Taiwan University's Institute of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, said that the government should consider modeling its experiments on ones conducted in the U.S., which focus on the effect of rabies on the animals' central nervous systems.
Director-general of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Chang Feng-yih (張峰義), however, said that if the planned experimentation is necessary, similar tests would have been conducted in China or India, where rabies is widely spread. Neither country has conducted such tests, he said.
Chang Chao-chin, a professor with National Chung Hsing University's Graduate Institute of Microbiology and Public Health, said that dogs are warm-blooded animals so it is already known that the rabies virus will work on them.
“I still cannot understand what the Council of Agriculture (COA) hopes to find out from the rabies experiment on dogs,” said Chang.
Yeh Lih-seng (葉力森), a professor of veterinary medicine at National Taiwan University, said that he opposes the idea of sacrificing animals' lives. Furthermore, he said, the number of animals planned to be used in the experiment is not enough to generate reliable data.
The COA announced on Aug. 14 that 14 healthy beagle puppies have been chosen to be bitten by ferret-badgers that are infected with rabies in order to find out if the virus strain discovered in Taiwan can be transmitted to dogs. The plans have triggered protests from animal activists and some experts.
A ferret-badger that entered a residence and was attacked by the owner's pet dog is seen yesterday in Kaohsiung. The home owners were not hurt by the ferret-badger and the animal, ...