December 10, 2018: Public Health has been informed that a skunk found in Mapleton Township has tested positive for rabies. In response, the Ministry of Resources and Forestry is planning to conduct oral vaccine bait distribution in the area on December 10-11, 2018.
There was no human contact with the skunk, but one individual is receiving post-exposure treatment after handling an animal that interacted with it.
Khaki-green coloured baits will be dropped out of a helicopter into the area outlined in the attached map on Monday and Tuesday. Public Health is reminding residents who see the baits to avoid touching them and to leave them in place so raccoons, skunks and foxes can eat them.
It typically takes about two weeks for a wild animal to develop immunity to rabies after chewing one of the baits.
“Animals that carry rabies are still active into the fall and winter months. This is a reminder that rabies is fatal to people and animals, including pets,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “If you are concerned you might have been exposed to rabies, contact your physician immediately or go to a hospital emergency department. If you think your pet may have been bitten or scratched by another animal, call your veterinarian immediately.”
If you suspect a wild animal has rabies do not go near it. Contact your local animal control service or the police. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, or have been in contact with a suspicious animal, report the incident to WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753. After hours, on weekends and holidays, call 1-877-884-8653.
Rabies is spread by the saliva of infected animals, most commonly through a bite or scratch. It can also be spread when saliva touches an open wound or the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. You can protect yourself by avoiding all contact with wild animals, especially foxes, raccoons, skunks and bats; and by vaccinating your pets against the disease. For more information visit wdgpublichealth.ca/rabies.
Manager, Communications, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4374