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City of Hamilton Public Health Services and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry respond to Raccoon Strain Rabies in Hamilton

Hamilton, ON – December 9, 2015 - As a result of the confirmed case of Raccoon Strain Rabies the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Animal Services, and Public Health Services are working together to understand the extent of the issue.

Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry that three of the 14 dead raccoons picked up by Animal Services since Friday have also tested positive for Raccoon Strain Rabies bringing the total confirmed cases to four. These additional cases signal that Raccoon Strain Rabies is circulating in the raccoon population in Hamilton.

To control the spread of rabies, the MNRF will expand the geographic scope of the Rabies Vaccine Bait Drop from the original area between the Red Hill Valley, Mud Street, Fruitland Road, and the lakeshore to include Haldibrook Road, Glancaster/Upper Paradise, Woodburn Road.

Raccoon Strain Rabies is serious and has not been seen in Ontario for more than a decade. Working together the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, City of Hamilton Public Health Services, and Animal Services will undertake a concerted effort to ensure the control and elimination of the Raccoon Rabies Strain.

How to minimize your risk

The overall the risk remains low to the general public but there are measures you can take to minimize your risk:

  • Report potential exposures due to animal bites or scratches to public health by calling the City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre 905-546-2489. Wash wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • If you believe you were in contact with the sick raccoon from this case, or if you see other sick raccoons, skunks or other wildlife report it to the City of Hamilton Customer Contact Centre at 905-546-2489.
  • It is important to vaccinate your pets against rabies, and to keep vaccines up to date
  • It is important to properly tag, and license pets. Learn more about the City's Responsible Animal Ownership by-law.
  • It is important to keep your pets supervised.
  • Avoid any contact with wild animals – do not feed or handle and never transport or relocate wildlife