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September 2016

September 28th is World Rabies Day

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World Rabies Day

September 28th 2016 is World Rabies Day. It was launched in 2007 to raise awareness about the impact of the disease on human and animal health. Rabies is probably a disease that you’re familiar with. Although it can be rare in countries with well-developed prevention and control programs, rabies is still a major concern around the world, causing over 55,000 human deaths a year globally (WHO). It is present on every continent except Antarctica. Rabies is a quick-moving virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain in humans and other mammals with terrible clinical symptoms. Once symptoms appear, the disease is almost always fatal, especially in animals. It is transmitted through saliva, primarily through a bite wound from an infected animal. It can also be passed by the infected saliva coming into contact with a scratch, open wound or mucous membranes of the mouth, nasal cavity or eyes.

Globally, dogs are the source of the vast majority of rabies cases in humans. Bats are a common source of rabies, as well as cats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, wolves, and many more. Horses and cows can also acquire the disease and spread it to humans.  In many developed countries like Canada, the U.S., Australia, numerous European countries and more, it is a legal requirement in municipalities, counties, or even the country to have your pet vaccinated against rabies.

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pet is to have your pet vaccinated. Canine rabies is completely preventable with vaccination. The rabies vaccination is safe and effective, in both humans and domestic animals. Canine vaccination is much more cost-effective than post-exposure vaccination and treatment for humans, and large-scale vaccination of at least 70% of an animal population helps to break the transmission pathways. Practicing dog bite prevention can also help. Rabies is a terrible disease for which there is no cure and leads to needless suffering and death. For more information, visit https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day/

LifeLearn Admin | Lifelearn News

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Rabies Alert-Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk Counties

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Rabies has been in the news for sometime now, because of raccoons and skunks found in close proximity to people in town and cities in Southern Ontario.  Recently the outbreak has taken a big turn for the worse: a man in Caledonia was bitten by a rabid stray cat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency tested the cat for the potentially fatal disease and confirmed it’s findings with authorities.  This is the first report of a domestic animal having the disease and the first incident of involving a human. The man has been receiving treatment and the local health unit is trying to determine if anyone else was exposed.

Local health units are very concerned that feral cats may become vectors. They live in large numbers in cities and in rural areas and could become infected by contact with raccoons and skunks.

It is very important that you take the following steps to protect yourself and your pets:

–Keep pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. This is mandatory under the law in Brant, Haldimand, Simcoe and Niagara Counties.  This is, without a doubt, the most important thing you can do to protect your pet from this disease.

–Stay away from and do not touch unfamiliar animals. Avoid all animals that are acting strangely.

–Stay away from wild animals and do not feed them.

–Prevent pets from coming in contact with wild animals.

–Carefully supervise children around animals.

–Do not let pets roam freely through the neighbourhood or in the countryside.

Anyone encountering wild animals behaving strangely can contact police or the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry’s Rabies Information Line at 1-888-574-6656.

Anyone bitten or scratched by a wild animal should contact the Brant County Health Unit at 1-519-753-4937, in Norfolk at 1-519-426-6170 or in Haldimand at 1-905-318-6623.

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a rabid animal, consult your veterinarian immediately.