Raccoon that bit Toronto police officer not rabid, public health says

A raccoon that left a Toronto police officer with minor wounds late last month has tested negative for rabies. The news comes as officials try to stem an outbreak of the viral disease in Hamilton, Ont.

The incident occurred as officers tried to corral the raccoon outside a downtown store

Raccoon rabies had been eliminated in Ontario for more than 10 years until Dec., 2015, when a raccoon tested positive in Hamilton, Ont. (Radio-Canada.ca)

Toronto public health says a raccoon that bit a city police officer was not rabid.

Police received a call last Monday from a store owner for a raccoon that "appeared to be in distress and possibly blind," hanging around a downtown store.

Two officers showed up and tried to corral the raccoon, which is when one officer was bitten in the hand and was taken to hospital to be treated for a minor injury.

Toronto public health said in an email Monday that as of Jan. 4, 2016 all animals, including raccoons, that had been submitted for testing have come back negative for rabies.

Raccoon rabies had been eliminated in Ontario for more than a decade until one tested positive in Hamilton in early December.

Since then, there have been at least nine other cases in the area and the province's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has spread more than 200,000 rabies vaccines in the Hamilton region in an attempt to stem the outbreak.

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