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 MNFR confirmed that three of the 17 dead raccoons picked up by Animal Services since Friday have also tested positive for Raccoon Strain Rabies bringing the total to four.

These additional cases mean that Raccoon Strain Rabies is circulating in the raccoon population in Hamilton. To control the spread of rabies, the MNFR will expand the geographic scope of the Rabies Vaccine Bait Drop from the original area between Red Hill Valley, Mud Street, Fruitland Road, and the lakeshore to include Haldibrook Road, Glancaster/Upper Paradise, Woodburn Road.

Public Health Response

Public Health Services is partially activating the PHS Incident Management Structure internally to effectively manage the workload this will generate. Public Health Services will be working with Animal Services, neighbouring health units, and multiple provincial ministries and agencies.

Public Health Services will be increasing communications to the media, community and stakeholders about reporting exposures, reporting sick or strange wildlife behaviour, and responsible pet ownership.

A key message is that 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-CITY (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 905-546-CITY (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. More information on responsible animal ownership is listed here.
  • 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

There will be more updates as we learn more information, and continue to respond to this issue. If you have any questions please contact me,

Dr. Jessica Hopkins

Associate Medical Officer of Health

City of Hamilton, Public Health Services

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