Bogus vaccines contribute to human rabies death toll in China
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2007:
BEIJING–Counterfeit human post-exposure rabies vaccine has
resurfaced as a factor in the fast-rising human rabies death toll in
China, Chinese media reported in late July 2007. The fake vaccine
reappeared two years after officials believed it had all been
destroyed, following the deaths of two boys who received worthless
Human rabies deaths in China have increased from 163 in 1996
to 3,215 in 2006, with 1,043 in the first five months of 2007. The
rise is roughly parallel to the increasing popularity of dogs as
pets–but the rabies cases are overwhelmingly concentrated in the
southern and coastal areas where dogs are raised for meat. So-called
“meat dogs” are not required to be vaccinated, unlike pet dogs.
For the second consecutive year dogs were massacred amid
spring rabies panics in Qhongqing province. News coverage of the
killing was suppressed, unlike in 2006, when the officially
directed dog purges were much criticized by both official news media
and on public Internet forums.
Also suppressed–but not entirely–was coverage of an April
24, 2007 incident in Huoyanyuan, Nanjing, in which, according to
Wang Feng of the Southern Metropolis Daily, a small mob of both men
and women whose sleep had been disturbed by barking burned a mother
dog and her litter of two.
“After the news story broke in the Modern Express Daily on
April 26,” Wang Feng wrote, “netizens by the hundreds showed up at
the forums to call for respect for life, to establish laws to
protect animals, and to condemn” the offenders. The burned dog and
her surviving puppy were taken for medical care. Many established an
open-air altar to commemorate the dead puppy, with wreaths of fresh
flowers. Someone published the identity, work address, home
address, office number and personal mobile telephone number of the
person who set the dogs on fire. Many people waited outside her
office and harassed her when she came out. They published
photographs and videos of her on the Internet,” and petitioned her
employer and the city of Nanjing to take action against her.
The city responded by proposing an animal control ordinance.
Like others in China, it would restrict dog-keeping to approved
breeds, of less than 35 centimeters in height. Dogs would be barred
from hospitals, schools, museums, theaters, restaurants,
shopping malls, hotels, kindergartens, playgrounds, scenic spots,
banks, and other financial institutions.
Nanjing officials told China Daily that the estimated 93,000
dogs in the city were responsible for 30,000 reported bites in 2006.
A similar ordinance was introduced almost simultaneously in
Hangzhou Estimating that fewer than half of the dogs in Hangzhou
are licensed, city spokespersons said that complaints about dogs made
up 43% of the total volume of public complaints that the city
Beijing had 703,879 licensed dogs as of August 2007, up
100,000 in the first half of the year. Bites were up 34%, to 83,000.