Chinese health officials said Thursday that rabies in China is not on the rise overall but public awareness of the spread and prevention of the disease needs to be raised.
"To my knowledge, rabies in China is not on the rise," Jiang Zuojun, vice health minister, said at a press conference."In such a big country, it's normal for some cases to occur."
He said the countryside is an area with weak prevention of rabies, where dogs are not widely vaccinated against the disease and medical treatment for people bitten by dogs is not adequate.
Jiang said that more dogs will be vaccinated against rabies in the future.
"One must be given vaccination immediately after being bitten by a dog," Mao Qun'an, the Health Ministry's spokesman said.
Once symptoms of the disease appear there is no cure.
According to the latest report on infectious diseases, 237 people died of the disease in July.
Mouding County in southwest China's Yunnan Province reported the deaths of three people from rabies in July. They died within ten days of being bitten even though they received treatment. The outraged community slaughtered 50,000 dogs after the deaths were reported.
The Health Ministry did not comment on the dog slaughter.