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Health Unit colouring contest increases rabies awareness

SIMCOE, ON, JULY 4, 2008 – Elementary school students in Haldimand and Norfolk counties have gained valuable knowledge about protecting their pets against rabies, thanks to a colouring contest sponsored by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

“The contest was open to students in both counties from Kindergarten to Grade 6,” explained Health Promoter Krysta Clark of the Health Unit’s Healthy Environment Team. “The goal was to find a fun way to educate our youngest citizens about pet care and rabies. We had six schools participate and received a whopping 165 entries.”

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals. The virus is carried in the saliva of infected animals, and is transmitted to pets and humans by a bite or scratch, or possibly by contamination of an open cut or mucous membranes. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal.

“Although the incidence of rabies has declined in recent years, the disease is still considered a threat,” Clark said. “Education is one of the best tools for keeping rabies under control and we appreciate the support of local schools in this project, as well as the veterinarians who donated prizes.”
Participating schools were Fairview Avenue Public School (Dunnville), Dunnville Central Public School (Dunnville), Courtland Public School (Courtland), West Lynn Public School (Simcoe),

Doverwood Public School (Port Dover) and Ada B. Massacre Public School (Waterford).
The 12 winners were Ashley Friesen, Kaitlyn Fleming, Tyler Damaso and Nicole Bueckent, all from Courtland school; Jenna Hamel from Dunnville Central school; and Evie Laine, Kennedy Stevens, Mitchell Harvey, Regan Minor, Owen Lingatis, Isabelle Hurst and Mackenzie Gray, all from Fairview school.

Prizes, including everything from stuffed animals to board games to gift baskets, were donated by local veterinarians in Haldimand and Norfolk: Big Creek Veterinary Hospital, Colborne Veterinary Clinic, Delhi Animal Office, Dover Animal Hospital, Grand River Veterinary Hospital, Hagersville Veterinary Services, Port Rowan Veterinary Services, Queensway Veterinary Hospital, Simcoe Animal Hospital and Waterford Veterinary Services. Winning entries can be viewed here.

Media Contact: Krysta Clark, Health Promoter, Healthy Environment Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3256 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3256