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2 rabies cases found in ferret badgers in western Taiwan

Public urged not to come into contact with wild animals

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Ferret badgers found to have rabies. (Miaoli Animal Care and Health Office photo)

Ferret badgers found to have rabies. (Miaoli Animal Care and Health Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two cases of rabies in ferret badgers were discovered in Miaoli County, one in Taian Township and the other in Dahu Township.

The two recent cases brought the total number of rabies cases to six over the past 12 months. All cases have been associated with ferret badgers, which live in mountainous areas, per UDN.

The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine commissioned the Taichung Wildlife Conservation Society to pick up ferret badger carcasses in Miaoli County on Jan. 1-5. The carcasses were sent to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Research Institute.

The Miaoli Animal Care and Health Office said the rabies epidemic broke out in Taiwan in 2013. The recent cases indicate the disease is beginning to become more widespread and is showing signs of migrating northward, with six cases in four different townships.

All cases of rabies are currently confined to ferret badgers, with no cases of the animals attacking or biting other animals. At the moment, no cases of rabies have been found in dogs, cats, or animals that live near humans.

The Miaoli Animal Care and Health Office contacted the township offices to deploy more veterinarians and patrols. Dogs and cats in high-risk areas are being administered rabies vaccines.

If residents find a dead wild animal, they should avoid handling it and contact relevant authorities for collection and inspection. Violators may face fines ranging from NT$30,000 (US$1,000) to NT$150,000.