SIMCOE, July 21, 2016 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) was notified by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) this week of two more raccoons from Cayuga testing positive for rabies. This now brings the total number of raccoons testing positive for rabies in Haldimand County to seven since last December when the re-emergence of the raccoon strain of rabies in Ontario was discovered. Of the seven raccoons testing positive in Haldimand, three have been from the Cayuga area, two from the Caledonia area, one from the Hagersville area and another from the York area. Fortunately, all seven cases did not involve human contact.
Ontario has now seen 147 animals test positive for the raccoon strain of rabies since December of 2015; the majority being from the Hamilton area. As the name suggests, most animals testing positive for this strain of rabies have been raccoons (99) while about a third (48) have been skunks. With numbers increasing, the HNHU would like to remind the public to continue to take precautions that can help prevent rabies in the community. “With the two most recent racoons testing positive being found closer the residential area of Cayuga, it’s important the public understands the situation is not limited to the countryside” notes Kris Lutzi, Acting Program Manager for the HNHU’s Environmental Health Team. “We encourage all members of the public to remain aware of the situation, keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, and avoid contact with wildlife, unfamiliar animals and animals acting strangely” adds Lutzi.
Persons wanting to report wildlife (e.g. raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc.) exhibiting abnormal behaviour can contact their local animal control or contact the Ministry of Natural resources and Forestry Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656. However, if 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 immediately. Pet owners should consult their vet if their pet was exposed to a potentially rabid animal. The incident may then be referred to the Ontario Ministry of Farms and Rural Affairs’ Agricultural Information contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.
For more information on rabies and the current raccoon rabies situation in Haldimand visit www.hnhu.org.
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Acting Program Manager
Environmental Health Team
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3261