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Rabies vaccine baiting is underway in Wellington and Dufferin counties

Baiting - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is dropping rabies vaccine bait throughout the province including Wellington County. The rabies vaccine bait comes in an army-green coloured blister pack. It is not harmful to people or pets; however, residents are advised that if they find a bait packet they shouldn’t open it.    Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Rabies vaccine baiting is underway in Wellington and Dufferin counties

WELLINGTON COUNTY - Public health officials have announced the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is dropping rabies vaccine bait in targeted areas of the province, including Wellington and Dufferin counties.

“MNRF baiting efforts aim to reduce rabies in the wildlife population and the serious risk the virus poses to people and their pets,” states a July 31 press release from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health (WDGPH).

“Baiting will occur by hand in urban green spaces until October. In forested and agricultural areas, the bait will be dropped by helicopter or yellow twin otter aircraft until the end of August.”

Officials are advising people not to disturb baits unless they are in an area where children play.

“If you must move a bait for safety reasons, put a plastic bag over your hand to move the bait to a suitable urban green space or wildlife habitat,” the WDGPH press release states.

When a raccoon (or other mammal) bites into the bait and swallows enough of the vaccine it should develop immunity to rabies in about two weeks, officials say.

In the last 18 months, hundreds of raccoons and skunks in Ontario have tested positive for rabies. 

The virus is found in the saliva of infected mammals and can be spread to other mammals by a bite that breaks the skin, or if the infected animal’s saliva gets into an open wound or mucous membrane. 

There is no treatment for rabies, which is fatal in most instances.

“Stay away from wildlife and do not attempt to feed them,” said Jessica Morris, manager of Health Protection for WDGPH.

“It’s also important to teach your children never to touch unfamiliar or wild animals. Contact animal control or the police if you see an animal behaving strangely or aggressively.”

Public Health is reminding every dog and cat owner to make sure their pet is vaccinated for rabies. 

If a pet is not vaccinated and comes into contact with a rabid animal, there is a risk to the pet owner and family. Anyone concerned their pet has been exposed to rabies, should contact a veterinarian.

Any person who may have been exposed to rabies should go to their family doctor or a hospital emergency department. 

For more information visit www.wdgpublichealth.ca.

August 11, 2017

 
 

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