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«May 2014 PICTURES OF RABIES CONTROL An MNR Twin Otter aircraft is used to distribute rabies vaccine baits in southern Ontario An electron microscope ...»

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RABIES

Questions and Answers

May 2014

PICTURES OF RABIES CONTROL

An MNR Twin Otter aircraft is

used to distribute rabies

vaccine baits in southern

Ontario

An electron microscope image of

the rabies virus

ONRAB® oral rabies

vaccine baits

1

Table of Contents

ABOUT RABIES

Who do I contact?

What is rabies?

How is rabies spread?

What are the symptoms of rabies?

Are there different types of rabies?

Are some strains of rabies more dangerous than others?

What is the rabies situation in Ontario?

How long does the rabies virus last outside the body and in dead animals?

Why do we invest in rabies control and research?

HUMAN HEALTH AND RABIES

Does rabies kill people?

How would I become exposed to rabies?

What should I do if I encounter a rabid animal?

What should I do if a suspected rabid animal bites me?

How do I know if I have rabies?

What should I do if I think I have rabies?

How long does it take to get rabies after being infected?

Is rabies treatment painful?

Do I have to pay for rabies treatment?

How can I reduce my risk of rabies exposure?

If I come into contact with urine, feces or blood should I be worried about rabies?

May I be vaccinated against rabies?

What about children?

Has anyone ever died of rabies in Ontario?

When was the last rabies death in Canada?

I found a rabies vaccine bait …

PETS AND RABIES

Does rabies kill pets?

How do I know if my pet is rabid?

What do I do if I suspect my pet is rabid?

How do I protect my pets against rabies?

Where can my pet get vaccinated and how much will it cost?

How long does the vaccination last?

When is a rabid dog or cat infectious?

What happens if my pet bites someone?

What happens if my pet is exposed to a rabid animal?

Which pets are prone to rabies?

I want to bring my pet into the United States …

How long does it take a pet to get rabies once infected?

Can animals that show no obvious rabies symptoms pass on the virus?

Do all animals that get rabies die?

Do my dogs and cats have to get a different vaccine because of raccoon strain rabies?............ 14 May I feed rabies vaccine baits to my pet?

What do I do if my pet eats a rabies vaccine bait?

LIVESTOCK AND RABIES

2 How do I know if my livestock is rabid?

What do I do if I suspect my livestock is rabid?

How can I protect my livestock against rabies?

How can I vaccinate my livestock against rabies?

How much will it cost to vaccinate my livestock?

How long does the vaccination last?

What happens if one of my animals is rabid?

How long does it take to confirm rabies in livestock?

How long is the quarantine period for animals suspected of having rabies?

What happens to the rest of the herd?

Does the government offer compensation?

Which livestock are prone to rabies?

How long does it take an animal to get rabies once infected?

May I feed vaccine baits to livestock?

How can I prevent my livestock from eating rabies vaccine baits distributed in my area?............ 17 What should I do if my livestock eats a rabies vaccine bait?

WILDLIFE AND RABIES

How can I tell if a wild animal is rabid?

Who should I call if I see a wild animal that might have rabies?

Which wild animals get rabies?

There is a raccoon/skunk/fox out wandering in the winter/daytime. Is it rabid?

What are the main rabies carriers in Ontario?

Can wild animals pass on rabies without dying of it?

What are the different strains of rabies found in wildlife in Ontario?

Which strains of rabies do I have to watch out for?

What is fox strain rabies?

Where did fox strain rabies come from?

What is being done to prevent the spread of fox strain rabies?

What is raccoon strain rabies?

Where is raccoon strain rabies found?

How many raccoons are there in southern Ontario?

What is oral rabies vaccination (ORV)?

How are rabies baits distributed?

What do the baits look like?

Where is the rabies vaccine in the bait?

Are the baits safe?

May I get some baits to feed to local wild animals?

Why aren’t baits dropped with the same frequency in northern Ontario as they are in southern Ontario?

How can I help in the fight against rabies?

What is bat strain rabies?

What is being done to prevent the spread of bat strain rabies?

Can bats carry and pass on rabies without dying?

What should I do if I encounter a bat?

Is my pet raccoon/skunk/fox safe?

I have found a baby raccoon/skunk/fox, but there is no sign of the mother. What should I do?

How long does it take an animal to get rabies once infected?

Can animals that have no rabies symptoms pass on the virus?

Do all animals that get rabies die?

What is done to wild animals that may be rabid?





–  –  –

 Animal/bite contact by a potentially rabid animal: call your family physician, the public health unit or go to the emergency department of your local hospital. If possible, confine the animal.

 Live, potentially rabid animal threatening my safety: call your local police force or detachment of the OPP.

 Dead, potentially rabid wildlife: contact the MNR Rabies Hotline at 1-888Potentially rabid pet or livestock: contact the OMAF Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300.

 For advice about a wildlife problem on my property:

 Humane Society: yellow pages of your telephone book under ‘Animal Protection & Shelters’ or 1-888-668-7722 or http://www.ontariospca.ca/  Private animal control agency: yellow pages of your telephone book under ‘Animal Control’ or (705) 254-3338 or http://www.furmanagers.com.

 Wildlife rehabilitation centre: yellow pages of your telephone book under ‘Animal Protection & Shelters’. Or contact your local Ministry of Natural Resources office for assistance.

 Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources district office: blue pages of your telephone book under ‘Natural Resources’ or MNR Offices webpage.

 Information on wild animal rabies prevention programs: contact the Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-888-574-6656 or for general inquiries 1-800-667-1940 or Ontario.ca/rabies.

4 What is rabies?

Rabies is an infectious disease caused by a virus that infects nerves in mammals. The rabies virus travels to the brain through nerves. Once it reaches the brain, the virus reproduces and then travels through the nerves back to most parts of the body. Eventually, the virus reaches the salivary glands where it is released into the saliva in the mouth. By this time, the disease has usually damaged the brain, producing either submissive or violent behaviour. Rabies can be prevented if a person is vaccinated soon after being exposed to a rabid animal. Death is caused by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest.

How is rabies spread?

Rabies is spread by infected mammals to other mammals (including humans)

through saliva. This can occur in three main ways:

• biting

• contact with the virus through an open cut, sore or wound

• contact with the virus through mucous membranes (mouth, nasal cavity, eyes) What are the symptoms of rabies?

In humans: early symptoms of rabies may include numbness around the site of the bite, fever, headache, and a general sick feeling. Later symptoms may include muscle spasms and hydrophobia (fear of water). In an adult, clinical symptoms can appear as soon as two weeks after exposure, or in some rare instances over one year following exposure. Once symptoms appear, death is usually imminent.

In animals: depression, partial paralysis, sometimes aggressive behaviour, followed by death.

Are there different types of rabies?

There are different strains, but unlike flu strains, rabies vaccine for humans and rabies vaccines for domestic animals protect against all strains of rabies in North America. There are several strains presently in Ontario: ‘Ontario fox’ (a subsidiary of ‘Arctic fox strain’) (mainly found in foxes and skunks) and a variety of bat strains. In 2008, Ontario was declared free from raccoon strain rabies, though the strain remains on provincial borders with New York State. The last case of raccoon strain rabies in Ontario occurred in September 2005. In other parts of Canada, the USA and Mexico, there are a number of skunk, fox, and other bat strains.

Are some strains of rabies more dangerous than others?

All strains are dangerous. At present, there is no proof that any one strain is more dangerous to humans than another. The most common strain to kill humans in North America is the bat strain.

–  –  –

Rabid foxes: The number of cases of rabid foxes has dropped significantly over the past couple of decades due to intensive rabies control efforts by MNR since

1989. The last rabid fox reported in the province was in 2009. Ontario, formerly the rabies capital of North America, used to report almost 1500 cases per year.

At present, remnants of ‘Ontario fox’ strain of rabies are found mainly in southwestern Ontario, and occasionally in northern Ontario.

Rabid raccoons: Like any mammal, raccoons can pick up various strains of rabies, but it is most susceptible to the raccoon strain. Raccoon strain rabies originated in Florida and has been moving northward for over 50 years. The first case in Ontario occurred in 1999 in Leeds-Grenville County in southeastern Ontario. The Ministry of Natural Resources’ (MNR) raccoon rabies control program held the number of cases to just 132 and in 2008 was able to declare the province free from the raccoon strain of rabies. However, the province remains vigilant in monitoring for new outbreaks as the disease remains at our doorstep on the borders with New York State.

Rabid skunks: In Ontario, skunks primarily carry the Ontario fox strain.

Fortunately, there were no rabid skunks identified in Ontario in 2013. A skunk was responsible for one of the two Ontario fox strain rabies cases in 2012; the other was a cat. This rapid decline in rabies cases over the past six years is likely due to a more effective oral rabies vaccine called ONRAB that has been developed for use in foxes, raccoons and skunks; as well as successful efforts to control rabies in foxes.

Rabid bats: Rabid bats accounted for 27 cases of the 28 rabies cases in 2013;

25 cases in 2012, and 29 and 24 cases, respectively in 2010 and 2011. Bats carry bat strains of rabies. As bats in Canada are insectivores, no efficient way of vaccinating them has yet been found. International research is being conducted to find effective vaccination methods for bats.

Rabid pets: In the late 1980s, almost 200 cases of rabid dogs and cats were reported each year. With the reduction of rabies in wildlife and mandatory pet vaccination, there has been a significant decrease in the numbers of rabid dogs and cats over the past decade. It is law that cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies in most parts of Ontario. That said, there was one case of rabies in a dog in northern Ontario in 2013.

Rabid livestock: In the late 1980s, an average of 410 cases of rabid livestock (including cattle, sheep, goats, and horses) were reported each year. With the reduction of rabies in wild animals, the figure has dropped significantly. In 2011, there was one rabid cow and no reported cases in 2013, 2012 or 2010.

–  –  –

(domestic), bison (domestic), ferret (domestic) and squirrel. Any mammal (including humans) can contract rabies.

How long does the rabies virus last outside the body and in dead animals?

The life span of the rabies virus depends on the duration of its exposure to air and climatic conditions. Freezing does not kill the virus, it only makes it dormant, but still infective. You should always assume that a dead animal may still harbour the virus.

Why do we invest in rabies control and research?

 To reduce the risk of human fatalities. Rabies, with very few exceptions, is fatal. The number of human deaths is low because of effective post-exposure vaccination, education, pet vaccinations, and wildlife rabies control programs.

 Reduce potential for mental and emotional impact suffered by the victim and the victim’s family.

 To save money on rabies investigations, post-exposure treatment, and other costs associated with high rates of rabies.

 To reduce the burden on the provincial health care system

7HUMAN HEALTH AND RABIES

Does rabies kill people?

Yes. Once symptoms of the disease develop, rabies is almost always fatal. There have only been a handful of documented cases worldwide of individuals surviving rabies. Worldwide, an average of 55,000 people die of rabies each year, mostly in Africa and Asia. Ninety-nine percent of the human rabies deaths are caused by rabid dogs in developing countries and about 15 million people are treated for rabies exposures annually worldwide (according to WHO).

Without intense medical intervention, all North American strains of rabies are fatal once clinical symptoms develop. Fortunately, a series of vaccinations can prevent death if administered immediately after exposure. One vaccine protects humans against all strains of rabies found in North America.

How would I become exposed to rabies?

Rabies is spread by infected animals through:

 bites  contact with an open cut, sore or wound  contact with mucous membranes (mouth, nasal cavity, eyes)  careless handling of a dead rabid animal Usually, people come into contact with rabies through their pets. Rabies in a single dog or cat could expose many human beings. In Ontario, less than 10% of reported rabid animals are cats or dogs, but they are responsible for about 50of all human post-exposure vaccinations.

What should I do if I encounter a rabid animal?

Keep your distance. Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.



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