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Rabies Kills 16 in E China City
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Sixteen people have died of rabies over the past eight months after a rash of dog attacks in Jining City, east China's Shandong Province, the local government said Thursday.

The disease was reported at 16 villages across the municipality, where more than 500,000 dogs live as pets or guard dogs.

The local epidemic prevention authority has announced it will kill dogs within five kilometers of each affected village.

Dogs in other parts will receive vaccinations against the disease.

Epidemic prevention officials said the local government had received constant reports this year of attacks by "mad dogs", and the number of rabies-infected patients had increased sharply.

They warned rabid dogs could infect people by biting and scratching.

The latent period of the disease ranges from a few days to 20 years, and there was no effective treatment, they said.

Patients rarely survived once the disease developed, but if they received the anti-rabies bacterin in time, the likelihood of developing the disease would drop to 10 percent, the official added.

On Sunday, Mouding County in southwest China's Yunnan Province reported the deaths of three people from rabies. They died within ten days though they were received treatment immediately after they were bitten.

Many dogs in the county have been killed to prevent the disease spreading.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2006)

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