Fifth raccoon rabies case confirmed in Ontario
AP file photo.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, December 14, 2015 10:32AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 14, 2015 1:20PM EST
TORONTO -- More vaccine-laced baits will be dropped in Ontario after wildlife officials said a fifth case of raccoon rabies had been confirmed.
The infected raccoon was found Friday in a small community north of Cayuga, about 25 kilometres south of Hamilton, where the four earlier rabies cases were located, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said.
That the virus has surfaced kilometres from the initial area is "not alarming," the ministry's manager of wildlife research said.
"We would've wished it wasn't spreading out like that but all you can do when you're battling raccoon rabies is you find the cases and you bait out to them, so that's what we're in the process of doing," Chris Davies said.
The discovery earlier this month of the first raccoon in the province to test positive for the raccoon rabies strain since 2005 prompted wildlife officials to step up their vaccine blitz.
Some 32,000 rabies vaccine baits were set to be dropped last week in an expanded area south and southwest of Hamilton in an effort to contain the outbreak.
And a crew set to fly over a 25-kilometre circle around the area Monday will take up to 147,000 baits, though fewer are likely to make it to the ground, Davies said.
"As we fly along, we obviously don't drop baits where there's towns and things like that," he said, adding staff will drop bait by hand in urban areas.
The re-emergence of the virus only came to light after two dogs got into a fight with a sick animal in the back of an animal services van in Hamilton.
An animal services officer picked up the dogs, Mr. Satan and Lexus, after they escaped their yard and placed them in cages in a van with a sick raccoon.
The raccoon and one of the dogs got loose and fought in the van. Both unvaccinated dogs were hurt and exposed to the virus. Their fate remains to be determined.
The raccoon was euthanized after testing positive.