Increase in rabies cases in Niagara.
Last week, two skunks in an urban area of Welland, and one raccoon in rural Lincoln have tested positive for rabies. Niagara Region Public Health has seen an increase in the number of animals testing positive for rabies in Niagara. So far, in 2018, there have been six raccoons and four skunks test positive for rabies. In 2017, there were a total of 21 animals that tested positive for rabies (19 raccoons, two skunks) and 12 in 2016 (10 raccoons, two skunks). Residents should not approach any wild animal, including those that appear to be in distress, as they may put themselves at risk for injury or contracting an infection like rabies.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), along with SPCAs and Humane Societies, continue to conduct increased surveillance activities for animals with rabies.
Public Health advises residents to take the following measures to protect themselves from rabies:
- Ensure pet dogs and cats have current rabies vaccinations (typically needed annually by law)
- Prevent pet dogs and cats from roaming off-leash or unsupervised
- Avoid all contact with wild animals and prevent contact between pets and wildlife
- Report wild animals exhibiting abnormal behaviour (particularly raccoons) to local animal control services:
Lincoln County Humane Society: 905-682-0767
Niagara Falls Humane Society: 905-356-4404
Fort Erie Humane Society: 905-871-2461
An animal with rabies may not display symptoms, and so all bites or scratches, however mild, from an animal must be assessed to ensure the person bitten/scratched is not at risk. Immediately report all animal bites and scratches of humans to Niagara Region Public Health at 905-688-8248, ext. 7590 or toll free 1-888-505-6074. Niagara Region Public Health is available to take calls about animal bites 24/7.
For more information about rabies, call Niagara Region Public Health at 905-688-8248, ext. 7590 or toll free 1-888-505-6074.