07 January 2017

HEALTH - Year Ends With 269 Rabies Cases in Ontario

The province of Ontario has tested over 4,700 animals for rabies since the first case in December of 2015.

Over 1.6M vaccine baits have been distributed to help contain the disease and in the latest report, nine more cases of raccoon strain rabies have been discovered.

Testing from the week before Christmas confirmed five infected raccoons and four infected skunks in the Hamilton, Halton and Brandt regions.

This brings the total to 265 cases of raccoon strain and 4 cases of fox strain rabies in Ontario.

Raccoon strain rabies - 265 cases
Hamilton - 213 cases
Haldimand - 19 cases
Brant - 12 cases
Niagara - 12 cases
Halton - 9 cases

Raccoon Strain Species Breakdown:
Raccoons - 181 cases
Skunks - 81 cases
Fox - 1 case
Cat - 1 case
Llama - 1 case

No testing was done through the holidays but will resume next week.

Rabies (Lyssavirus) is an infectious disease that affects the central nervous system in mammals.

It’s transmitted through the saliva when the animal “sheds” the virus.

Rabies is not transmitted through the blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal, nor is it spread airborne through the open environment. Because it affects the nervous system, most rabid animals behave abnormally.

Historically, bats, foxes and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies in Canada, with coyotes and raccoons added to this list in the United States.

It is believed this rabies outbreak in Ontario was caused by a raccoon that rode into Canada on a semi-truck from the US.

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