Taiwanese health authorities have called for owners to inoculate their pets after a rabies infected dog was euthanised, the first such case since 1959.
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed that a one month old pet dog in Taitung county was euthanized on Sunday after contracting rabies.
The CECC said that the death of the dog from rabies has been reported to the World Organization for Animal Health and that people in should try to avoid coming into close contact with stray animals.
“There is no need for the pet owners to panic, but they have to make sure their dogs and cats get a shot of vaccine against the disease,” Edward Chao, spokesperson for the island’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, told reporters.
If a pet displays erratic behaviour, including appetite loss, restlessness or aggression, owners should alert animal disease control centres immediately.
Only 10 countries and regions in the world are listed as rabies-free. More than 55,000 people die of rabies worldwide every year, with dog bites being the primary cause of infection.
Rabies is one of the most deadly diseases with no cure once the infection reaches the central nervous system and fatal within days.
[Image credit: @zabowski]