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Four new rabies cases confirmed in ferret-badgers

TAIPEI -- Four more Formosan ferret-badgers have tested positive for rabies, bringing the number of confirmed infections to 130 since mid-July, when the first case in Taiwan for over five decades was reported, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) for Rabies said yesterday.

Two of the new confirmed cases were reported in Nantou County's Lugu Township and one each from Nantou's Shueili Township and Taitung County's Guanshan Township, according to the center.

A day earlier, a total of 541 wild carnivorous animals had been tested for the infectious disease. Of those, 128 wild Formosan ferret-badgers were found to be infected, CECC data shows.

The other two cases involved an Asian house shrew and a pet dog. There have been no reports of human infection.

The cases were reported in 47 townships and districts in nine counties and municipalities in central, Southern and Eastern Taiwan, the CECC said.

The center said it will provide 8,500 extra doses of rabies vaccine for use on dogs and cats in ferret-badger infested areas and another 720 doses to animal shelters.

Vaccinations of dogs and cats are continuing across the island, the center said, urging dog and cat owners to get their pets vaccinated if they are aged over three months old and not to allow those younger than that to be in contact with wild animals.

If pets display erratic behavior such as appetite loss, restlessness or aggression, owners should immediately inform local animal disease control centers, the center said.

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