11 February 2017

HEALTH - Second Rabid Cat Found in Ontario

On February 6th, a cat infected with rabies was reported in Ontario.

This is just the second reported case of rabies in a domesticated animal in the province in 20 years.

The city of Hamilton Public Health Services is asking anyone who may have lost, abandoned, fed, or came in contact with a male adult orange tabby cat in the area bounded by Rymal Road to the north, 5th Line to the south, Fletcher Road and Harrison Road to the east, and Pauline Johnson Road to the west between Sunday, January 22 and Monday, January 30, 2017 to contact their local health unit to determine whether or not they need rabies post-exposure vaccine.

The city believes the two feline rabies cases are likely related to the resurgence of raccoon rabies in the area.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is conducting tests to determine if this cat is related to the raccoon strain of rabies currently circulating in the wild animal population and results are expected next week.

To protect people and their pets the city is recommending:
  • Avoid contact with live or dead animals including raccoons, skunks, bats, as well as unknown dogs and cats. Do not feed, help, or relocate any wildlife of keep them as pets.
  • Vaccinate pets against rabies, and keep rabies vaccinations current for dogs and cats to protect them, and prevent any spread to people.
  • Report animal bites and scratches to public health by calling 905-546-CITY (2489). Wash wounds with soap and water, and seek medical attention.
  • Report sick, injured, or strange behaving wildlife to City of Hamilton Animal Services by calling 905-546-CITY (2489)

As at February 1st, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reported a total of 277 raccoon strain rabies cases and six fox strain since the outbreak began in December of 2015.

This is 14 new cases in 2017 and does not include the cat discovered this week.

The majority of incidents are raccoon strain rabies:
Raccoons: 187 cases
Skunks: 85 cases
Fox: 1 case
Cat: 1 case
Llama: 1 case

The province has tested over 4,800 animals for rabies and continues to rely on vaccine baits to help control the spread of the disease.

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