SIMCOE, JANUARY 24th, 2018– The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) was notified yesterday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry that a raccoon from just north of Simcoe has tested positive for rabies. While there has been widespread rabies activity within areas of Haldimand County since the raccoon rabies outbreak began in 2015, this is the first positive animal identified within Norfolk County boundaries. Currently, HNHU staff is in the process of following up with the submitter to verify that there was no human contact involved in this case.
Haldimand County to date has had 27 cases of raccoon strain rabies comprising of 24 raccoons, two skunks and one llama. To date in Ontario, there have been 388 cases of raccoon strain, and 14 cases of fox strain rabies.
To reduce the risk and help prevent the spread of rabies in the community, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is asking the public to take the following preventative measures:
- Ensure your pet’s rabies vaccination is up-to-date. It’s the law.
- Stay away from and do not touch unfamiliar animals, or animals acting strangely.
- Stay away from wild animals and do not feed them.
- Prevent pets from coming into contact with wildlife.
- Supervise children when they are around animals. Accidents do happen.
- Do not let pets roam free.
- Feed pets indoors. Feeding pets outdoors can attract other unwanted animals.
- Keep garbage securely covered.
Persons in Haldimand and Norfolk wanting to report wildlife (e.g. raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc.) exhibiting abnormal behaviour should contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656. If, however, the animal was involved in a bite, scratch or any other contact that might result in transmission of rabies to a person, the incident should be reported to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623. Incidents only involving domestic pets being exposed to potentially rabid animals should be reported to your local vet and/or the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
For more information on rabies visit https://hnhu.org/health-topic/rabies/
Program Manager, Environmental Health Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3271