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City of Hamilton confirms first case of bat rabies in 2019

HAMILTON, ON – City of Hamilton Public Health Services received confirmation of the first positive rabid bat since August 2017. While there was no human contact with this bat, this serves as a reminder for residents to keep a safe distance from bats and other animals that can carry rabies such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, as well as stray or unknown cats and dogs. 

City reminds public to keep a safe distance from wild animals

Rabies is a fatal virus that affects mammals, including humans, and is most commonly spread by wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. However, saliva can also enter the body through scratches, open wounds or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes.

Hamilton currently has an outbreak of rabies, mainly in raccoons and skunks with 323 animals testing positive since December 2015. In addition to raccoons and skunks there has been one fox and two stray cats test positive. Bats have tested positive for rabies almost every year in Hamilton.

It is important to take precautions to avoid contact with rabid animals.

Tips to prevent rabies

  • Always keep a safe distance from, and avoid contact with wild animals including raccoons, skunks, bats, unknown dogs and cats and other wild animals. Rabies can make animals aggressive or it can make them appear sick, scared, or friendly.
  • Bat proof your home.
  • Call Hamilton Animal Services at 905-546-2489 if you see a dead, sick or strangely acting raccoon, skunk, bat, or other wild animal.
  • Do not feed, help, handle, relocate any wildlife or keep them as pets.
  • If you are bitten by an animal, or had direct contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the wound with soap and water, seek medical attention immediately or call Public Health Services at 905-546-2489.
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies, keep rabies vaccinations current for dogs and cats to protect them, and prevent any spread to people.
  • Contact your vet if your pet is in contact with a wild animal, including bats.

Additional Resources

For more information about rabies, visit