Raccoons are cute. Little fur balls sneaking around at night. But, raccoons in Ontario have recently tested positive for rabies. The past few months has seen a rise in cases, 180 to date. Canada hasn’t had problems with rabies for many years. However, the United States has not been able to control the virus in raccoons. Although Canada does its part to protect us from rabies, the disease can spread very fast. Also, it can be easily transmitted through saliva of infected animals. Proven cases have been steadily rising since December 2015, but the government is trying to get it under control.
Ontario rabies outbreak
Last December was the first reported case of rabies in Ontario for a decade. Discovered in Hamilton after an altercation between two dogs and a raccoon. Since then there have been about 180 confirmed cases in raccoons and skunks. Canada has been adamant about keeping the virus out. New York State has several cases of rabies, but there’s a barrier of edible vaccines distributing by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. This recent outbreak appears to have jumped the vaccine barrier. Rabies has likely travelled into Canada with a hitchhiking New York raccoon.
Since May, there have been 61 raccoons and 33 skunks tested positive for the raccoon strain of rabies. The outbreak in Hamilton could take a few years to fully control and numbers will go up before down.
What is rabies?
A virus that infects any mammal even humans. Rabies is found in saliva and can spread through bites breaking the skin, or saliva entering an open cut, mouth, nose or eyes. Animals most infected are bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons. Death usually occurs 2 to 10 days after first signs. Symptoms begin with fever and headache. It progresses to inflammation of the brain and includes partial paralysis, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behaviour, paranoia, terror and hallucinations.
Protecting yourself from rabies
- Don’t touch dead animals. They can still have the virus.
- Keep your distance from potentially infected creatures.
- Don’t keep wild animals as pets.
- Vaccinate your pets.
- Leave baby animals alone for at least a day before calling anyone.
- Don’t trap animals.
Hamilton raccoon removal
Rabies can quickly get out of control. Make sure that if you come into contact with any potentially infected animals to immediately go to the emergency room and call public health.
If you discover any raccoons or dens on your property contact Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control. Don’t take the risk of coming into contact with a rabid animal.
Call the pros today – 1-888-592-0387