Local Bat Tests Positive for Rabies

Written by Communications, September 28, 2018

Residents Reminded to Avoid Contact with Animals That Can Carry Rabies

Peterborough Public Health confirmed today that a local bat found last week within the City of Peterborough has tested positive for rabies, and is reminding residents to steer clear of wild animals commonly known to carry the disease.

“This positive animal case confirms what we already know – that rabies is present in our area,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “This serves as a good reminder for residents to take precautions, such as getting your pets vaccinated, and avoiding contact with bats and other animals known to carry rabies.”

In Canada, the most common rabies carriers are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.  Rabid animals may be extremely excited, attack objects or other animals, froth at the mouth, and bite at anything.  There were 20 rabid bats in Ontario in 2017 and none in Peterborough.

To prevent rabies, always wear gloves and other protective clothing when dealing with a bat.  Warn children to stay away from bats and to report any contact with them.  If you or a pet comes in direct contact with a bat, you should contact your doctor or veterinarian. For tips on preventing conflicts with bats, visit www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-conflicts-bats.

While it’s rare, when humans develop rabies from infected animals it is almost 100% fatal. Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals. The virus is concentrated in the saliva of a rabid animal and can spread through a bite, cut or scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. There is no known treatment for rabies once the symptoms appear.  The disease cannot be treated, but it can be prevented through vaccination.

To protect your family and your pets from rabies:

  • Keep pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccination. In Ontario, it’s the law that all cats and dogs over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies
  • Teach children to stay away from wild animals, dogs and cats they don’t know or animals that are acting strangely
  • Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating your livestock against rabies
  • Stay away from any wildlife, dog or cat that you don’t know or any animal that is acting strangely. A strange acting animal could be a sign that it is sick or injured.
  • Keep pets away from wildlife. Don’t let your pets run free in the neighbourhood and keep them indoors at night
  • Don’t feed, transport or relocate wildlife.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the area thoroughly with soapy water, seek medical advice immediately, and then contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 240.

If your pets or livestock have had contact with a wild animal, such as a bat, skunk, fox or raccoon, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Veterinarians seeking assistance with risk assessments or post-exposure management can call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at 1-877-424-1300.

If an animal is acting strange or sick, and neither a human nor pet/livestock have been exposed, contact your municipal animal control department or OSPCA. For non-emergencies and information about rabies in wildlife, call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry rabies hotline at 1-888-574-6656.

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For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391