QUEBEC, Aug. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - For the third year in a row, the
Government of Québec will engage in the spreading of vaccine bait in the
southern Montérégie and Estrie regions this August in order to maintain and
increase immunization against raccoon rabies in the raccoon, skunk and fox
populations. Depending on the area covered, the vaccine bait will be released
by airplane or spread manually.
    During the week of August 17 to August 21, low-flying airplanes will
release some 925,000 pieces of vaccine bait over an area of around 11,000
square kilometres. In the main, forest and agroforestry habitats will be the
targets of this spreading operation, whereas inhabited areas will be avoided.
The list of the 35 municipalities in the Estrie region and the 126 in the
Montérégie region that will be covered by this operation can be found at the
end of this document.
    The following week, from August 24 to August 31, teams from the Ministère
des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) will crisscross the urban
territory of the south shore of the St. Lawrence River to manually spread some
35,000 pieces of vaccine bait in habitats where raccoons, skunks and foxes are
usually found. These areas notably include wooded areas, approaches to
watercourses and, occasionally, garbage cans. You will also find a list of the
35 municipalities that will be visited during this operation at the end of
this document.

    Current status

    Only two cases of raccoon rabies have been observed in Québec since the
beginning of 2009, and those involve two skunks that were found dead in the
vicinity of Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville. "This is a significant drop
compared to the same date last year, and seems to indicate that our control
efforts have been successful," said Pierre Canac-Marquis, coordinator of
control operations at MRNF.
    However, there has also been a sharp drop in the number of reports by
local residents. "While several factors could explain this drop, it could
influence our understanding of the situation," commented Frédérick Lelièvre,
director of MRNF monitoring activities. "Citizens make a valuable contribution
here, since the proportion of rabies-infected animals is higher among those
that they report. Even if the situation appears to have improved, it remains
vital that residents continue to report suspect animals to us," he added.
    On the whole, results are encouraging, but raccoon rabies is present
south of the Québec-U.S. border as well as in proximity to the densely
populated areas on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, and this
requires energetic and constant control efforts as well as a high level of
sustained surveillance.

    A few guidelines for citizens

    Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transmitted from a sick animal to
humans. Pets, notably cats and dogs, can transmit rabies to humans if they are
contaminated by an infected wild animal.
    To ensure the success of the operation and to protect against raccoon
rabies, the citizens of the affected regions are invited to follow a few

    - Since vaccine baits are intended for wild animals, avoid handling them
      even though there is no danger for people, animals or the environment
    - In case of contact with a perforated or broken bait capsule, call the
      number appearing on the back of the of the capsule or Info-Santé
      service at 8-1-1
    - Consult a veterinarian to have outdoor pets vaccinated against rabies,
      dogs and cats in particular
    - Never approach unknown wild or domestic animals
    - In the event of an animal bite, wash the wound abundantly with soap and
      water for 10 minutes, then contact Info-Santé at 8-1-1
    - Keep outdoor garbage cans and potential shelters out of the reach of
    - Report raccoons, skunks or foxes that are dead, disoriented, unusually
      aggressive or paralysed by calling Services Québec toll-free at
      1 877 644-4545 or by filing an online report form on our website:

    The operations to combat the spread of raccoon rabies are managed by an
interministerial committee bringing together representatives of the MRNF, the
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the public health directorates
of the health and social services agencies of Estrie, Laval, Montérégie,
Montréal and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des
Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation, Services Québec, the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency and the Faculté de médecine vétérinaire de l'Université de Montréal.
    For further details on this operation, please download the 2009
surveillance and control operations map as well as the list of municipalities
that will be covered by this intervention; for information on rabies in
general, visit the following web site:

    Source:                           Information:

    Eric Santerre                     Gladys Chamberland
    Responsable des relations         Conseillère en communication
    avec les médias                   Direction des communications
    Direction des communications      Ministère des Ressources
    Ministère des Ressources          naturelles et de la Faune
    naturelles et de la Faune         418 627-8609, ext. 3048
    418 627-8609, ext. 3003
    -%SU: RNT,SPT
    -%RE: 39,68

For further information:

For further information: Gladys Chamberland, Conseillère en
communication, Direction des communications, Ministère des Ressources
naturelles et de la Faune, (418) 627-8609, ext. 3048; Source: Eric Santerre,
Responsable des relations avec les médias, Direction des communications,
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, (418) 627-8609, ext. 3003

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