SIMCOE, January 14, 2016– The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) was notified by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) of three more raccoons testing positive for rabies in Haldimand County. Two of the raccoons were found on the outskirts of Caledonia and the other in a rural area south of Hagersville. Fortunately, reports indicate that all three raccoons had not had any contact with people or domestic animals. This brings the total number of raccoons positive for rabies in Haldimand County to four.
Provincial and local authorities including the MNRF, local public health units and Animal Control continue to manage the raccoon rabies outbreak with enhanced surveillance, continued investigations and an aggressive bait vaccination campaign. Thankfully, much of their efforts have been aided by the awareness and reports from members of the public. “We’d like to thank those who have reported any wildlife acting oddly to the proper authorities and the pet owners who have made sure their pets are up to date on their rabies vaccination” stated Sandy Stevens, Environmental Health Team Program Manager for the HNHU. “It’s these types of efforts that can help resolve this outbreak more quickly” added Stevens. Persons wanting to report wildlife (e.g. raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc.) exhibiting abnormal behaviour should contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Rabies Hotline 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.
As a reminder, a number of Haldimand County veterinary clinics are offering a temporary low cost rabies vaccination program for all residents of Haldimand County, Six Nations and New Credit until January 30th, 2016. Dogs and cats will be administered a rabies vaccination by a qualified staff member at participating offices (listed below) for a cost of just $15 (plus HST). For more information or to book an appointment for a rabies vaccination, contact any of these participating clinics:
• Dunnville Veterinary Clinic 905-774-7642
• Grand River Veterinary Hospital (Caledonia) 905-765-0001
• Caledonia Veterinary Clinic 905-765-6206
• Hagersville Veterinary Services 905-768-1611
• Cayuga Veterinary Clinic 905-772-1576
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Environmental Health Team
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 ext. 3216