1st canine rabies infection in years: CDC
By Lauly Li ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed that a 1-month-old pet dog in Taitung County died of rabies last Sunday.
September 11, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
An official with the CDC said the center was informed by the Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday about the incident, noting that the dog was bitten by a rabid Formosan ferret-badger on Aug. 14, and the owner of the dog sent it to Taitung County Animal Quarantine the following day for observation.
The CDC said the Taitung Animal Quarantine conducted an autopsy and examination of the puppy, and confirmed that it had contracted rabies.
On Sept. 6 the puppy's appetite dropped off significantly and it showed signs of depression, the CDC said, noting that on Sunday the animal's situation worsened to the point that it was too weak to stand up. In light of this, the CDC euthanized the dog on the same day.
Chang Shu-hsien (張淑賢), head of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), said the rabies outbreak in Taiwan is under control, noting that the puppy was only one month old and had not been vaccinated, and therefore it was vulnerable to infection. Chang added that pet animals must be more than three months old before they can be vaccinated.
The COA said given the puppy was small, the council assumed that ferret-badgers would have an easy time attacking the animal.
When asked by a reporter if the government will still conduct rabies experiments on dogs, Tsai Hsiang-jung (蔡向榮), director-general of the COA's Animal Health Research Institute, did not give a direct answer.
Instead, Tsai said thus far only one rabid dog has been discovered in the nation, noting that a single case is insufficient to determine the latent phase of the disease, its clinical symptoms, or how this iteration of the rabies virus will affect dogs in general.
Chang said that as far as she knows the COA currently still plans to conduct experiments on mice, ferret-badgers and then on dogs. Chang added that there are currently 124 confirmed cases of rabies-infected ferret-badgers, one shrew, and one pet dog.
The Animal Rescue Team Taiwan (ARTT), an animal protection organization, said that in light of the first confirmed rabies-infected dog, a lot of pet owners will begin abandoning their pets.
The ARTT urged pet owners to vaccinate their pets regularly, noting that as long as the animals are vaccinated, they will be able to resist the rabies virus.