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News Release

Health Department promotes education and rabies vaccination during Rabies Awareness Week, May 5 to 9

WHITBY, ON April 30, 2014 - Rabies Awareness Week is May 5 to 9 and Durham Region Health Department is encouraging area teachers to present a 15-minute lesson on rabies to their students. The Health Department offers grade specific lesson plans on rabies to educators and schools can request a presentation or display from the Health Department on rabies prevention and control. 

In 1984, southern Ontario had the reputation of being the rabies capital of North America. More cases of rabies occurred here than anywhere else on the continent. In response to this situation, Ontario developed the rabies baiting program, a program in where baits laced with rabies vaccine are either aerial dropped or hand tossed into green areas to then be consumed by wildlife.

Despite the success with the vaccine baiting program, rabies in bats still remains a significant problem in Ontario. Studies have shown that approximately one per cent of any bat colony includes bats with rabies. Anyone who has had rabies exposure, such as a bite or scratch, or contact with the saliva contact of an infected animal, or information on any rabies exposure, must immediately report the incident to the Health Department at (905) 723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.  The Health Department investigates over 1,000 animal bite reports each year in the Region, which results in an average of 100 individuals receiving post-exposure anti-rabies treatment.

In addition to education, another key component of rabies prevention and control is responsible pet ownership including rabies vaccination of your dog or cat. On May 3, from noon to 4 pm, a low-cost rabies vaccination and microchip clinic will be held at PJs Pet Centre, Pickering Town Centre, 1355 Kingston Rd. Pet owners are asked to bring all cats in a carrier and dogs on a leash. The cost for the vaccination and microchip is $20 each; cash payment only will be accepted. This event is held in partnership with the City of Pickering Animal Services.

The Health Department also recommends taking the following steps to avoid exposure to rabies:

  • Avoid all wild animals, including bats.
  • Avoid dead or sick animals.
  • Children should report sick animals to their parents.
  • Children should report animal bites or scratches to their parents who should contact the Health Department.

For more information on rabies, please call the Health Department Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.

 

Media inquiries:
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF DURHAM
Glendene Collins - Health Department 905-668-7711, ext. 2999