Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rabies Redux

Rolling past an earth god temple in Sanzhi township.

One of the great pleasures of living in Taiwan is the lack of rabies among the stray animals. It means that you can interact with them without worry of a bad death. It looks like that may be coming to an end... first, the WSJ:
But this week the Council of Agriculture confirmed that the lethal disease has made a comeback on the island after three dead wild Formosa ferret-badgers found in the mountains of Yunlin and Nantou counties tested positive for the disease.

Although currently the zoonotic disease is isolated among wild ferret-badgers, the news has sowed panic among pet owners and animal rights groups who fear the return of the virus could spark a massive cull of feral animals. Some animal groups also worry the news could deal a severe blow to overseas adoption programs.

Thanks in part to its rabies-free designation, Taiwan is a major exporter of abandoned animals: In the last 10 years, the Taichung-based Animal Rescue Team Taiwan has sent 2,300 cats and dogs to the U.S. and Canada. Animals Taiwan, a group founded by a British expatriate that takes in mostly injured and sick animals, sends around 50 animals overseas each year.
The local Taiwan media is saying....

[paraphrase] "The quarantine unit should do a survey" said the President of the Taiwan Ecological Society.... researchers on ferret badgers suspect the virus may have been lurking in the mountains for years.
The piece also identifies China as a possible source of the infection. According to that piece, experts are divided on whether the infection has peaked; they cited one from each side of the isssue. Pets are now forbidden in 22 forest recreation areas in Taiwan. There's a cute pic of a ferret badger here. Rabies has such a high dread factor that the local media is now reporting it when a dead ferret badger is found.

UPDATE: LOL, and of course I forgot to include the article from today's Taipei Times whose story I had read about yesterday in UDN.
According to the council, a 31-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃) of Donghe’s Singchang Village (興昌) was bitten by a wild ferret-badger at home on Monday night. He reported the case to the local animal disease control center on Tuesday and was sent to the Hualien Hospital for emergency precautionary treatment consisting of intravenous injections of immunoglobulin and rabies vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said while initial testing found no signs of the virus having infected Huang, the center will continue to monitor his health for a month and administer the necessary five vaccine shots in this period.

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MJ Klein said...

no doubt, one of the early-harvest results of ECFA.

Anonymous said...

Well could be worse. Could be the plague.