Rabies case confirmed in Labrador
Provincial veterinarian says many conditions are right for an outbreak
Posted: Jan 20, 2012 1:46 PM NT
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2012 3:25 PM NT
The province's chief veterinarian is warning that Labrador is ripe for an outbreak of rabies after a case of the virus was confirmed in a red fox near Wabush.
Tests on a dead fox came back positive for the virus Thursday. A provincial government news release said Friday that this is the first case of rabies reported in Labrador since 2005.
"This could be the one and only case, but we have everything necessary for the virus to spread quite extensively in Labrador," Hugh Whitney, Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief veterinarian, said.
The animal was put down Jan. 12 after it attacked a shovel on the doorstep of a home in Wabush. Whitney said such unusual behaviour is a tell-tale sign of rabies.
"We’ve had cases of a fox biting an axe-handle, attacking a skidoo, chewing on concrete – this type of very strange behaviour," he said.
Whitney said rabies outbreaks tend to happen when the fox population is high, as it is in Labrador this year. He said outbreaks tend to happen in four-year cycles.
"There is a fairly high concentration of foxes in Lab West. There are a lot of foxes around Goose Bay and there are reports of fox in northern Labrador. We know the virus is circulating in the Ungava Peninsula area. So everything is there," he said.
Whitney said people should be vigilant about keeping their animals on leashes, and having them vaccinated against rabies
The virus can be lethal for animals and humans, if not treated right away.
Officials with the departments of Natural Resources and Health and Community Services are encouraging residents of Labrador to take the following precautions:
- Keep domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, under control;
- Vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies;
- Avoid wild animals particularly foxes and wolves;
- Report any sightings of strange-acting wild or domestic animals to wildlife enforcement officers, conservation officers, veterinarians, police or public health officials;
- Wash any bites or other areas of contact with potentially rabid animals immediately with soap and water;
- Immediately go to your health clinic or emergency department for treatment of any animal bites. Any significant contact with potentially rabid animals should be reported to public health officials.
Latest Nfld. & Labrador News Headlines
- Gros Morne fracking plan on UNESCO radar
- UNESCO's World Heritage Committee is worried about proposed fracking near Gros Morne National Park, on Newfoundland's west coast. more »
- Tourette foundation tweets tics
- The Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada is using Twitter to help the public see first hand what it's like to have the condition. more »
- Black Spruce consolidates west coast energy plays
- An exploration firm says it has the expertise and resources required to successfully develop energy opportunities on Newfoundland's west coast where others have faltered. more »
- Strike drags on at St. John's airport
- The nine-month-old strike at St. John's International Airport continues to drag on. more »
Top News Headlines
- Obesity now recognized as a disease
- The American Medical Association has voted to recognize obesity as a disease, while doctors in Canada say they also treat it as such. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Washington's obsession with leakers
- Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are just the most prominent targets in an all-out legal and propaganda campaign that America's security apparatus is mounting against leakers everywhere, Neil Macdonald writes. more »
- Caregiving dads stigmatized at work suggests UofT study
- Fathers who participate in child rearing and housework are likely to be labeled slackers and "failed men" at work, according to a study spearheaded by researchers at the University of Toronto and Long Island University. Are active dads the norm at your workplace? more »
- Dozens of children seized from Manitoba Mennonite community
- Child welfare authorities have removed all but one child from a small Mennonite community in rural Manitoba. more »
- Statoil makes 2nd find in new frontier off Newfoundland
- Dover woman's trial on sex charges to take place in January
- N.L. may release royalty info now blocked by Bill 29
- Judge considers new evidence in shaken-baby case
- 4-year prison sentence for pizza man, gas station robberies
- New park in Labrador City not scoring goals with everyone
- Peace and quiet costs about $4K for St. John's resident
- EI reforms opposed in Atlantic Canada, poll finds
- Strike drags on at St. John's airport