Published Date: 2011-06-09 16:50:04
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies - China: Shanghai, animal vaccine, RFI
Archive Number: 20110609.1754
RABIES - CHINA: SHANGHAI, ANIMAL VACCINE, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 9 Jun 2011
Source: Global Times via China.org.cn (the authorized government
portal site to China) [edited]
Dog owners in Shanghai fear rabies vaccinations required under new
licensing rules may be unsafe after an animal rights group reported
that at least 11 dogs have died shortly after getting the jabs.
Melissa Chen, a Singaporean dog owner, said her 3-year-old Chihuahua,
Rainbow, had a spasm 2 hours after having a rabies shot at a
government-designated veterinary clinic on 28 May 2011. Vets at a
Jing'an animal hospital were unable to resuscitate the dog.
"The vet did not say the rabies injection was the cause of death,"
Chen told the Global Times. "But Rainbow was a healthy dog and showed
no symptoms of illness before the vaccination."
Rainbow and the other dogs died after new dog licensing rules were
introduced on 15 May 2011, which require dog owners to have their pets
vaccinated for rabies at one of 20 designated animal clinics in the
city. The vaccination certificate is required for the dog license
Marvin Manalac, founder of the local non-profit organization Jiaya's
Animal Rescue, said he had been told of the 11 deaths and had received
dozens more anxious enquiries about the vaccinations from expatriate
"It is premature to jump to the conclusion that the rabies shots were
contaminated. However, the reported deaths could deter dog owners from
following the city's new dog license regulations," Manalac told the
More than 60 000 dogs have received rabies vaccinations since 15 May
2011, with only 4 dog owners reporting that their pets suffered
adverse reactions to the shots, Xu Feng, the spokesman of the Shanghai
Agriculture Commission's Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Office, told
the Global Times.
"All vaccines at assigned animal clinics are produced under strict
quality supervision. Each batch of vaccinations are tested to ensure
their safety," said Xu.
"It is true that dogs are exposed to certain side effects after the
vaccination. But it is also important that dog owners vaccinate their
pets, as the benefits outweigh the potential risks," Xu added.
Jun Guohua, a vet at the government-designated Shanghai Animal Care
Veterinary Clinic in Changning district, told the Global Times that
one in 10 000 dogs could develop allergic symptoms toward rabies
shots, and of these cases, only very few would result in death. There
is no allergy test available for dogs before the administration of
rabies shots, according to Jun.
"Small-sized dogs are more likely to develop adverse symptoms, as the
dose for a 3-kg dog is the same as that for a 20-kg one," he said.
Dog owners should watch their dogs for at least 3 hours after the
vaccinations, Jun said. If the dog develops swelling around the eyes
and face or loses its appetite, owners should immediately take their
pet to the vet for treatment.
[Xu Feng's statement that "the benefits (of dog vaccination) outweigh
the potential risks" is fully endorsed. Having said that, more details
on the vaccine batch applied in Shanghai and the safety tests it may
have undergone prior to release will be helpful.
OIE's Requirements for Rabies Animal Vaccines are available on-line
on pages 13-16 of the document "CHAPTER 2.1.13. RABIES" (Version
adopted by the World Assembly of Delegates of the OIE in May 2011),
OIE's manual. See
The chapter's vaccine safety section says:
"Safety tests for batches of inactivated virus vaccines are carried
out by inoculation of cell culture or intracerebrally into mice to
detect viable virus. A suitable safety test for live rabies vaccines
should be carried out on each lot of vaccine in the intended host
species. At least 3, preferably 5 to 6, animals of the intended host
species should be given a dose equivalent to 10 times the recommended
field dose by the recommended route of administration. The animals
should be observed for 180 days for adverse reactions attributable to
the vaccine (Council of Europe, 2005)." - Mod.AS]