Human Surveillance in Response to the 2013 Re-emergence of Animal Rabies Re-emergence in Taiwan

Chiu-Mei Chen, Ni-Chun Yeh, Hung-Wei Kuo, Ding-Ping Liu

2013 Vol.29 NO.133

Correspondence Author: Chiu-Mei Chen

  • Epidemic Intelligence Center, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


       On July 16, 2013 Taiwan announced that the rabies virus had been found in wild ferret-badgers. Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and welfare and Council of Agriculture strengthened the monitoring of human and animal rabies and launched various preventive interventions in accordance with their responsibility. In response to the ongoing rabies outbreak, in human rabies surveillance, besides the notifiable infectious disease surveillance system, use vaccine apply mechanism to collect human cases information of animal bite or scratch, and gather rabies vaccination information and Council of Agriculture animal laboratory data , to provide intact information for risk assessment and the intervention for prevention and control. This article analyzes 5,335 cases of animal bites or scratches that led to an application for a vaccine from July 21, 2013 to September 30, 2013. Male (55.0%), particularly those aged 25-49 years old (40.2%), were predominant. Overall, 78.6% had been exposed to dogs or cats the majority (56.1%) of which was stray dogs or cats. Eastern area had a higher number of cases than the other areas, with male accounting for 60%, and 65.4% having the category 3 wounds. Analysis of the Taiwan’s Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance System (RODS) found that the number of emergency room due to dog bite is consistent with the applications for rabies vaccines. 205 specimens from cases of encephalitis of undetermined etiologies from January 2010 to September of this year were all ruled out as being infected with rabies. There has been no confirmed case of human rabies as of September 30, 2013. Only central, southern and eastern districts have animals been found to have rabies and are classified as potential risk areas. In the future, the will be an improved surveillance mechanism for animal bites or scratches, the establishing of a platform for the collection of data to strengthen risk assessment and risk communication, and the reduction of exposure and probability of infection, are directions for future work.