Hamilton hopes these strange creatures make you more aware of rabies risks
In recognition of World Rabies Day, the city is reminding the public to protect their pets
Rabies: it's not fiction.
That's the message the City of Hamilton wants to put out there with a new awareness campaign being launched Wednesday to coincide with World Rabies Day.
Since late in 2015, 168 cases of animal rabies have been been confirmed in Hamilton, the province's first outbreak of the disease in a decade. The outbreak has included animals like raccoons, foxes, and a cat. There have been no human cases, but more than 1,500 possible human exposures to the disease.
City hall's campaign features images of fictional hybrid critters like the "Baccoon" and the "Skox," which it points out are not real, but Rabies is.
The city has released the following information regarding protecting your pets and yourself from contracting Rabies.
- Anyone who is bitten, scratched or has contact with the saliva of an animal should immediately wash the area with soap and water and seek medical attention as rabies post-exposure vaccine may be needed. Report animal bites and scratches to public health by calling 905-546-CITY (2489).
- Always keep a safe distance from wild animals and stray or feral cats and dogs. Rabies can make animals aggressive or it can make them appear sick, scared, or friendly.
- Avoid contact with live or dead animals including raccoons, skunks, other land animals and bats, and unknown dogs and cats.
- Do not feed, help, or relocate any wildlife or keep them as pets.
- Keep your pets supervised, and leashed. Learn more about the City's Responsible Animal Ownership By-law
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies, and keep rabies vaccinations current for dogs and cats to protect them, and prevent any spread to people. Visit our website for information on low cost rabies vaccine clinics.
- If you see sick, injured or strange behaving wildlife report it to City of Hamilton Animal Services 905-546-CITY (2489)
Rabies by the Numbers:
196: The total number of rabid animals that have tested positive for raccoon strain rabies in Ontario
168: The total number of rabid animals found in Hamilton from 2015 to date.
5: The number of species that have been found to carry rabies in Hamilton this year. This includes raccoons, skunks, a fox, a bat, and a stray cat
1513: the number of human exposures to potentially rabid animals reported to Public Health Services in the last 12 months.
0: human cases. We want to keep it that way!
For more information visit www.hamilton.ca/rabies