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Ferret-badger in Hualien tests positive for rabies

2019/02/17 18:25:18

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Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) A ferret-badger caught in eastern Hualien County last month tested positive for rabies, the county's Animal Health Inspection and Prevention Office said recently.

Hsu Chen-Hsiung (徐振雄), Da-an village chief under Guangfu Township, told CNA Sunday that late last month he found his daughter playing with the animal at their home.

He and other villagers caught the ferret-badger and took it to a nearby fire department before it was transferred to the county's Animal Health Inspection and Prevention Office to test for rabies.

The animal later tested positive for rabies, according to the office.

Lin Kuo-tong (林國棟), director of the Animal Epidemic Prevention Center of Hualien County, told CNA that the incidence of wild animals infected with rabbis has increased notably in Hualien over the past five years.

According to statistics from the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, nationwide it received 74 requests for tests in January alone, with animals brought to local animal health inspection and prevention offices to test for rabies.

Of those cases, six ferret-badgers out of a total of 17 tested were found to be infected with rabies. Four of the six were in Hualien County.

Lin called for the public to be vigilant and to have pets checked regularly.

It is illegal to abandon domestic pets, with violators subject to a fine of NT$30,000-NT$150,000 (US$4,870), Lin added, while also warning people to avoid approaching wild animals.

Anyone bitten by an animal, must wash the wound with soap and water for 10-15 minutes, then clean it with 70 percent alcohol/ethanol, povidone-iodine or a similar antiseptic, before immediately contacting a health care facility, Lin said.

(By Lee Hsien-feng and Joseph Yeh)