29 August 2016

HEALTH - Hamilton Cat Tests Positive for Rabies

Hamilton Public Health Services was notified on August 25, 2016 by Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit that a cat that may have originated in a rural area of Ancaster tested positive for rabies.

They are asking anyone who may have lost, abandoned, fed, or came in contact with a grey adult male cat in the area of Alberton, from south of Highway 403 into Brant County, between August 10 and August 20 to contact them.

  • City of Hamilton residents can call 905-546-2489.
  • Brant County residents can call 519-753-4937.

It’s possible the cat is Hamilton’s first case of domestic rabies in over 20 years.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting tests to determine if this case is related to the raccoon strain of rabies found in the wild animal population in the Hamilton area.

Results of the tests are expected next week.

After more than a decade without raccoon strain rabies, Ontario has seen cases throughout 2016.

To combat the outbreak, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is planning a large scale aerial baiting operation in late August early September.

They will be distributing 500,000 more rabies vaccine baits by Twin Otter aircraft.

This is in addition to the 900,000 oral vaccine baits that have been distributed by the ministry in southern Ontario since December 2015 when the first case of raccoon rabies was confirmed.

As of August 23rd, 170 cases of raccoon strain rabies and 2 cases of fox strain rabies have been found in the province.

Raccoon strain rabies by area:
Hamilton 150
Haldimand 10
Niagara 5
Brant 5

In these cases, rabies was found in 118 raccoons and 52 skunks.

Hamilton Public Health is encouraging residents to:
  • Always keep a safe distance from wild and unknown animals. Rabies can make animals aggressive or it can make them appear sick, scared, or friendly.
  • Avoid contact with live or dead animals including raccoons, skunks, other land animals and bats, and unknown dogs and cats. Do not feed, help, or relocate any wildlife or keep them as pets.
  • Keep your pets supervised.
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies, and keep rabies vaccinations current for dogs and cats to protect them, and prevent any spread to people. Visit their website for information on low cost rabies vaccine clinics.
  • Report animal bites and scratches to public health by calling 905-546-2489. Wash wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • If you see sick, injured or strange behaving wildlife report it to City of Hamilton Animal Services 905-546-2489.

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