3 ferret-badger carcasses confirmed with rabies in Miaoli County

The carcasses of three Formosan ferret-badgers have been confirmed as having the rabies virus, the first time the virus has been confirmed in Miaoli County, the local Animal Care and Health Office said on Thursday.

Under a program being carried out by the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) to analyze the prevalence of rabies among wild animal across Taiwan, the office said it caught two Formosan ferret-badgers in Zhuolan Township on Jan. 1 and Jan.7, respectively, and a third in Tai'an Township on Jan. 18.

The three animals all died while in captivity and were later confirmed by the Animal Health Research Institute as having been infected with the rabies virus -- the first time the virus has been officially recorded in Miaoli County, the office said.

The three ferret-badgers are the first rabies cases discovered north of the Daan River since 2013, an indication that the virus continues to spread across the river, director of the office Chang Chun-yi (???) told CNA.

To prevent the rabies virus from spreading among the cat and dog population in adjacent areas, the office will give door-to-door shots, provide free vaccinations and is urging residents to have their animals neutered and chips implemented, Chang said.

Meanwhile, animal patrols will be stepped up in the county, and the office will seek to capture stray dogs in high-risk areas, to be placed in secure facilities, and provide vaccinations against the rabies virus at township offices if necessary, he added.

Chang urged the public to report any animal carcasses found to the office rather than dispose of them on their own.

Anyone bitten or scratched by a stray animal should clean the wound with soap and water for at least 15 minutes and disinfect the area with 70 percent alcohol, before seeking urgent medical treatment and reporting the case to the local township office or animal care facility, the center noted.

Miaoli County Magistrate Chung Tung-chin (???) called on the public not to abandon their pets and not to touch or catch wild animals.

It is imperative that people take their pets to receive shots every year to help prevent the spread of rabies among animals and thereby ensure it does not jump from animals to humans, Chung said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel