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Rabies: Know the Facts

Update on Raccoon Rabies in Southern Ontario New

A number of cases of raccoon rabies (in raccoons and skunks) have been confirmed in the Hamilton and Niagara areas since December 2015. Prior to December, it had been over 10 years since any raccoon strain rabies had been identified in Ontario.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry along with SPCAs and Humane Societies have increased surveillance for animals with rabies since December and The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has also dropped bait filled with rabies immunization to stop the spread of rabies in the wild animal population in and around the affected areas.

At this time, the Durham Region Health Department asks residents to take the following measures to protect themselves from rabies:

  • Ensure pet dogs and cats have current rabies vaccinations
  • Prevent pet dogs and cats from roaming off-leash or unsupervised
  • Avoid all contact with wild animals and prevent contact between pets and wildlife
  • Do not re-locate or move wild or domestic animals from or to areas with high rabies prevalence
  • Report wild animals exhibiting abnormal behaviour (particularly raccoons) to either the local animal control services, or directly to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656
  • Report immediately all animal bites or contacts that may result in transmission of rabies to humans to Durham Region Health Department at 1-888-777-9613. Or FAX report to (905)666-1887. Download the Animal Bite / Exposure Report form PDF

For more information about rabies, call the Durham Region Health Department, Environmental Help Line at 1-888-777-9613