Guangdong reports 265 rabies cases

Updated: 2006-10-28 20:37

GUANGZHOU -- South China's Guangdong Province has reported 265 cases of rabies from January to September this year, 25 percent up on the previous year, according to the provincial department of health.

About 65 percent of the cases were contracted from dog bites or scratches and over 95 percent of the rabies patients were infected in rural areas where there are a lot of animals, according to a report on the epidemic issued by the department.

Child victims below the age of 15 account for 22 percent of the total with the youngest being two, the report says.

During the period, more than 1.5 million people were scratched or bitten by animals in the province, it says.

A lack of prevention knowledge and a lack of effective prevention measures are key factors in the increase in rabies cases, according to local health authorities.

China reported 2,254 rabies cases in the first nine months of the year, a year-on-year increase of 29.69 percent. A total of 2,053 people died from the disease nationwide.

The country is launching a massive campaign to register and inoculate animals to fight against rabies, a fatal viral disease transmitted through animal bites and the most deadly infectious disease in China this year.

In the Chinese capital Beijing, about 550,000 dogs were registered in 2006, an increase of 90,000 on last year, but statistics from the Beijing Association of Small Animal Protection indicate the city has just as many unregistered dogs.

More than 110,000 people in Beijing were given anti-rabies inoculations after being bitten or scratched by dogs or cats in the first nine months of the year, and the city has reported 10 deaths.

Local authorities have begun a two-month campaign to remove stray dogs from the capital's streets.

Currently, Beijing has 45 outpatient clinics that provide inoculations against rabies and they have been told to stay open 24 hours a day and make regular reports to local centers for disease control and prevention.