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More animals found infected with rabies

More animals found infected with rabies

Taipei, July 28 (CNA) Five more wild Formosan ferret-badgers have been found to be infected with rabies in Taiwan, pushing the number of confirmed rabies cases in the nation to 11 as of noon on Sunday, according to an animal and plant inspection official.
All the cases involved the same animal species and no human infections have been reported.
The latest confirmed infections were found in different parts of Taiwan on Saturday, said Chang Su-san, head of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
Of the five new cases, two were found in the mountainous areas of Nantou County, central Taiwan, one in the central city of Taichung, one each in the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Chang said she was expecting a rise in rabies cases, but she declined to comment on the possibility of a major outbreak.
Among the 11 confirmed infections reported since July 16 in Taiwan, the landlocked Nantou County accounted for five cases, the highest in Taiwan, followed by two in Taitung County, in rural southeastern Taiwan. There is one case each in Taichung City, central Taiwan, the southern cities of Tainan and Kaohsiung and the southern county of Yunlin.
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) announced on Friday that it has listed Taiwan as a rabies-affected area as the nation lost its rabies-free status for the first time since 1961.
Chang said Taiwan has no plans to airdrop rabies vaccines on the mountains, as the attenuated, or "live," vaccines, can endanger residents in the mountains. She cited an example from the United States, in which people contracted rabies after vaccines were airdropped in a mountainous area there. Chang made the remarks at a press conference after attending a meeting called by the Cabinet on rabies control on Sunday.
Taiwan has not reported rabies infections in humans so far and the 30 people who were scratched or bitten by animals during the July 21-27 period in the country have received their first human rabies shots. Among those 30 people, a man from Taitung, who was bitten by an infected Formosan ferret-badger on July 23, will receive a total of five shots within a month. CDC Director General Chang Feng-yee said those who had been fully vaccinated against rabies before the onset of the infection have a near-100 percent chance of not getting infected at all.
The CDC will replenish the supply of human rabies vaccines to 10,000 shots within a year in order to be fully prepared for treating people attacked by potentially infected animals, according to CDC Deputy Director General Chuang Jen-hsiang. The government will fund the five shots needed for people attacked by potentially infected animals, while those seeking preventive vaccination will have to pay for the three shots needed for the purpose. (By Lin Hui-chun, Chen Ching-fang and Scully Hsiao)