Deadly virus outbreak not yet affecting the Taiwan tourism industry

Travelers to Taiwan should be aware of a still under control outbreak of rabies. The rabies virus travels to the brain by following the peripheral nerves.

Deadly virus outbreak not yet affecting the Taiwan tourism industry

Travelers to Taiwan should be aware of a still under control outbreak of rabies. The rabies virus travels to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. The incubation period of the disease is usually a few months in humans, depending on the distance the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system. Once the rabies virus reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the infection is virtually untreatable and usually fatal within days.

“Taiwan’s ability to control diseases has been trusted,” said Lai Ping-jung, director of the bureau’s Hotel, Travel and Training Division, adding that the bureau has not seen any decline in the number of foreign visitors.”

The recent outbreak of rabies in Taiwan has not yet affected the local travel industry, as the authorities are monitoring the situation closely and providing necessary information to foreign travelers, tourism officials stated on Wednesday.

However, to minimize the impact of the disease on the industry, Lai said, information sessions on rabies and relevant control measures will be held for tourism operators in Japan and Singapore, Taiwan’s major inbound travel markets, which are not yet listed as rabies-affected areas.

Apart from the two Asian countries, only eight other countries or regions in the world are currently listed as rabies-free: Iceland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway (excluding the Svalbard Islands), Australia, Hawaii, and Guam.

Although the areas where rabies cases were reported in Taiwan are not close to the island’s major tourist destinations, local tour guides will receive instructions and training from the bureau on handling emergency situations, Lai said.

As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed rabies cases in Taiwan has risen to 14, all of them involving Formosan ferret-badgers from the mountainous areas, with seven cases reported in central Taiwan’s Nantou County alone.

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