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Rabies dogs China

25th October 2006

Rabies has killed more people in China than either tuberculosis or AIDS in each of the last five months, and has prompted a crackdown in the capital to control unregistered dogs.

Pet dogs were shunned in the days of Mao Zedong as a symbol of bourgeois decadence but have become increasingly popular in the last decade with improved living standards.

But steep registration fees and poor education levels have fuelled an explosion in unregistered and feral dogs in Chinese cities.

Rabies killed 318 people in China in September alone, a rise of 36.9 percent on a year earlier, according to Health Ministry figures. In the first nine months of 2006, the ministry recorded 2,254 rabies infections, up 26.69 percent on the same period last year.

State media said rabies had become the biggest killer out of 23 of the most infectious diseases including TB, AIDS and hepatitis B. The list did not include type A influenza.

Beijing, where only half of its estimated one million dogs are registered, kicked off a two-month campaign on Saturday to "reinforce regulations on dog ownership", after reporting 70,000 "pet-related injuries" in the first half of 2006.

Some 2,660 people died of rabies in China in 2004.


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