Chinese authorities have ordered all dogs to receive a mandatory
inoculation against rabies as the country fights a rising number of
human rabies cases, the ministries of health and agriculture said
in a circular on Friday.
By the end of November, China reported 3,010 rabies cases
compared with 3,279 in 2006, 2,537 in 2005, and 2,651 in 2004
during the same period, the Ministry of Health figures showed.
Between 2004 and 2006, rabies claimed 8,403 people, accounting
for 30.1 percent of the total deaths from infectious disease in the
same time period.
"With the increasing number and density of dogs in some cities
and rural areas, less than 10 percent were vaccinated against
rabies," the circular said.
Statistics show Beijing alone has more than 703,800 registered
dogs. The number is likely larger when including those that are
Given the "extremely serious" situation, the ministries have
ordered the strengthening of vaccination work and the compulsory
vaccination of all dogs.
All inoculated dogs must be given uniformed certificates and
wear relevant emblems, according to the circular.
The compulsory vaccination order was backed by the newly-amended
law on animal epidemic prevention that took effect on Jan. 1. It
asked all animal owners to comply with compulsory vaccination
The revised law sets up a compulsory animal vaccination system,
requiring immunization of animals against diseases harmful to
people's health and the husbandry industry.
It made clear that animals stated in the law "include pets" and
all stipulations on animal immunization in the law were "fit for
Rabies is an acute viral infection that is nearly always fatal
if left untreated. It can be transmitted by the bite of an infected
animal, usually a dog. It kills about 50,000 globally each
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2008)