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Beijing Reports First Rabies Death This Year
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The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau announced Friday that a farmer from Beijing's suburban Daxing district had died of rabies, making him the first permanent resident of the capital to fall victim to rabies this year.

According to the Bureau, he was bitten in the finger by a small stray dog when he took it home and tried to tie the animal with a rope. He scrubbed the wound with iodine but did not go to hospital for treatment.

Over 140,000 people in Beijing were bitten or scratched by animals last year, and 12 people died of rabies infections, including one permanent resident.

The bureau has warned residents not to touch or offend any street dogs when they visit families and relatives during the Spring Festival.

Rabies, often spread by dogs, attacks the nervous system and is fatal to humans if not treated prior to the onset of symptoms. It is the most deadly infectious disease in China followed by tuberculosis, AIDS, hepatitis B and infant tetanus.

The disease killed more than 2,000 people in other parts of the country last year.

Beijing now has more than 550,000 registered dogs, but the total number is estimated to be over 1 million. The capital has 82 outpatient clinics which stay open around the clock to provide rabies treatments.

The municipal government launched a two-month campaign in November last year to check whether Beijingers have licenses for their dogs, and to ensure no family has more than one dog. Dangerous dogs or dogs taller than 35 cm, such as mastiffs, Dobermans, Saint Bernards and Great Danes, are banned.

(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2007)

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