TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--On February 21, 2018, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year’s first two human cases of ferret badger bites in Taiwan.
Additionally, the ferret badger specimens have been tested positive for rabies by the Animal Health Research Institute of the Council of Agriculture, according to Taiwan CDC.
The victims respectively reside in Guanmiao District, Tainan City and Guangfu Township, Hualien County, and they were respectively bitten by the intruding ferret badger on February 17 and 18. Both victims have sought medical attention and were not experiencing any symptoms at the time of the announcement, the agency said, adding that the local health authority would assist the victims in completing the full course of rabies vaccination and follow up on them.
The agency said that in Taiwan, several human cases of ferret badger bites are reported every year. In 2017, a total of 18 human cases of ferret badger bites were reported, including 13 cases that were tested positive for rabies, according to the agency.
Rabies is an acute viral encephalomyelitis caused by the rabies virus. The incubation period is one to three months. The early symptoms include fever, sore throat, chills, loss of appetite, vomiting, breathing difficulty, coughing, headache, and sensory changes at the site of the bite, Taiwan CDC said. The disease then progresses to excitability, fear, numbness, swallowing difficulty, throat spasms, hydrophobia, delirium and convulsion; death is often due to respiratory paralysis, according to the agency. Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is almost 100% fatal in humans if left untreated, the agency said.
According to the agency, when bitten or scratched by animals, remember to take the following steps: 1. Wash: Immediately wash the wound with soap and an ample amount of clean water for 15 minutes and then disinfect the wound with iodine or 70% alcohol; and 2. Seek: Seek prompt medical attention for proper evaluation and treatment at healthcare facilities/public health centers that offer post-exposure rabies vaccination to reduce the risk of infection.
For more information on rabies prevention, please call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Care Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).