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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 08:26, October 17, 2006
Health ministry issues guidelines on rabies treatment
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The Chinese Ministry of Health on Monday issued guidelines on rabies treatment in response to an increasing number of rabies cases in the past few months.

The guidelines provide medical professionals with detailed treatment procedures including disinfection and vaccination. They emphasise that the timely inoculation of the rabies vaccine is crucial to preventing the disease.

Rabies, often spread by dog bites, attacks the nervous system and is fatal in humans if not treated prior to the onset of symptoms.

China has some 150 million pet dogs. It ranks second in the world after India in the number of reported cases of rabies, according to the ministry. Every year more than 50,000 people around the world die of the disease - most of them are from developing countries.

Experts say pet owners who abandon their dogs are mainly responsible for the high prevalence of rabies in China as stray dogs that have not been vaccinated are most likely to contract the disease.

The control of rabies became the top public health priority three months ago when the disease caused the deaths of three people in southwest China's Yunnan Province and local authorities in Yunnan and Shandong provinces sought to curb the risk through killing dogs.

The ministry recorded 2,254 rabies cases in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 29.69 percent over the same period last year. September was the fifth month rabies has topped the list of most deadly infectious diseases.

Beijing has launched campaigns to clamp down on unlicensed dogs. Dog owners in Beijing now face harsh penalties if they raise their pets in violation of regulations.

The municipal government requires rabies cases or suspected rabies cases to be immediately reported to the health department. No urban resident in Beijing has contracted the disease this year.

The health ministry has also vowed to strengthen prevention of rabies in rural areas, where dogs are not widely vaccinated and medical treatment for people is inadequate.

Source: Xinhua

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