The Council of Agriculture’s Animal Health Research Institute and the American Institute in Taiwan co-held the “2017 APEC Wildlife Rabies Workshop” in Taipei from November 13 to 17 2017. More than 80 government officials, scholars, and experts from Canada, the US, Japan, France, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) attended. The global situation, laboratory diagnosis, and prevention and control strategies of wildlife rabies have been discussed and shared together, in hopes of promoting a consensus among APEC members toward prevention of wildlife rabies, and of uniting in a common effort to attain the long-term goal of eliminating rabies and ensuring the safety of people and domestic animals in the region.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease (i.e. it can be transmitted between animals and humans). It is estimated by the OIE that every year nearly 60,000 people around the world die from rabies, which means every 15 minutes someone is killed by rabies on average, with 95% of cases occurring in Asia and Africa. According to the statistics, being bitten or scratched by a dog with rabies is the most common way people get infected with the disease, therefore, in order to reduce the risk of humans becoming infected with rabies and to control rabies outbreaks, large-scale immunization of dogs against rabies is the most important mean for controlling the disease in dogs. Besides rabies in dog, wildlife transmission is another important route which humans often get exposed to rabid animals. Therefore, how to control wildlife rabies is crucial for every country.
The Council of Agriculture (COA) states that, rabies re-emerged in 2013 in Taiwan, which was identified in the Formosan ferret badgers. In Taiwan, developing oral baits for ferret badgers is one of the main measures to prevent the rabies spread. The government will, through continued monitoring of the rabies situation among animals, increasing vaccination of dogs and cats, strengthening management of dogs and cats, intensifying borders’ inspection and quarantine, vaccine preparedness, education and outreach campaigns, international cooperation, and research , fully control the rabies .
The COA also notes that the “2017 APEC Wildlife Rabies Workshop” was jointly held by the US and Taiwan. This Workshop brought government officials responsible for prevention of wildlife rabies as well as scholars and experts from various countries together to share experiences in the current rabies situation, diagnostic technologies and techniques, and methods to control rabies. The COA also arranged an on-site visit to Hualien to present Taiwan’s accomplishments with rabies prevention, inspection and quarantine. It is hoped that, through the efforts of various countries together, there can be upgraded capacity-building for diagnosis and preventive control strategies for rabies and secure the safety of people and animalsin the Asia-Pacific region.
COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (third from left) attended the 2017 APEC Wildlife Rabies Workshop.
A group photo from the 2017 APEC Wildlife Rabies Workshop.