Fight against the spread of raccoon rabies in Québec - INTERVENTION IN THE MONTEREGIE AND ESTRIE REGIONS FROM APRIL 27TH TO MAY 6TH



    SAINT-JEAN-SUR-RICHELIEU, QC, April 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ministère des
Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) would like to inform the public
that the year's first raccoon rabies control intervention is beginning today.
This intervention consists of vaccinating raccoons, skunks and foxes in the
zone of the Montérégie region where cases of raccoon rabies were identified in
2008. The shores of Lac Memphrémagog and the Estrie region are also targeted,
as cases of raccoon rabies have been reported south of the U.S. border.
    Up until May 6th, teams from the MRNF will crisscross a 2,400 km(2)
territory to spread by hand vaccine bait, which resembles large green olives,
in the natural habitats of raccoons, skunks and foxes. These areas notably
include wooded areas, the approaches to watercourses, agro-forestry settings
and, occasionally, garbage cans. By the end of the intervention, close to
65,000 vaccinated baits will have been spread in 57 municipalities of the
Montérégie region, spread out along the banks of Rivière Richelieu and on a
strip of land having a width varying from 50 to 70 km to the east of this
river, from the border in the south up to Mont Saint-Hilaire in the north, as
well as in 5 municipalities of the Estrie region, on the shores of Lac
Memphrémagog.
    "This early intervention aims to increase the percentage of immunized
animals in the critical zones," mentioned Pierre Canac-Marquis, of the
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF), coordinator of the
control operations.
    The citizens of the regions concerned are invited to follow a few
guidelines:

    
    - Never handle vaccine bait intended for wild animals, even though it
      poses no danger for people, animals or the environment;
    - In case of contact with a perforated or broken bait sachet, call the
      number appearing on the back of the sachet or the Info-Santé service;
    - Have your pets vaccinated against rabies and keep them under your
      supervision at all times.
    

    The collaboration of citizens is important

    It is also important to remind citizens residing in enhanced surveillance
zones that they can make a significant contribution to the fight against
raccoon rabies. They should report raccoons, skunks and foxes that are dead,
dying, or appear to be disoriented, unusually aggressive or paralyzed, by
contacting Services Québec at 1 877 644-4545. "Surveillance is a key element
in the fight against the spread of raccoon rabies," explained Frédérick
Lelièvre, of the MRNF, coordinator of surveillance operations. "This allows us
to draw an accurate portrait of the situation and, above all, to monitor its
evolution. Our teams crisscross the high surveillance zones all year round,
but they cannot be everywhere. Consequently, citizens are our eyes in the
field. It should be recalled that while the cases of raccoon rabies of 2007,
2008 and the first cases of 2009 were discovered in the Montérégie region, to
the east of the Richelieu, the enhanced surveillance zone also includes the
rest of the Montérégie region, the Estrie region and the municipalities of
Saint-Théophile and Saint-Gédéon-de-Beauce in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.

    Reminder: rabies is a fatal disease

    The public health directorates of the health and social services agencies
of the Montérégie, Estrie and Chaudière-Appalaches regions would like to
remind citizens that rabies is a fatal disease that can be transmitted from a
sick animal to humans. There is a vaccine to protect against rabies, but to be
effective, it must be administered rapidly after a contact with an infected
animal. It is very important, if you are bitten or in contact with the saliva
of an infected animal, to clean the wound, even if it appears minor, with soap
and water for 10 minutes and then to promptly call Info-Santé by dialing
8-1-1.

    About the plan to combat raccoon rabies

    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, 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.
    To obtain more details on the operations to combat raccoon rabies in
Québec, on rabies in general or to report a dead or suspicious animal, visit
the following web site: www.rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca.

    Source :
    Eric Santerre
    Direction des communications
    Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune
    (418) 627-8609, poste 3003

    -%SU: SPT,RNT,SAN
    -%RE: 68,39




For further information:

For further information: Eric Santerre, Direction des communications,
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune, (418) 627-8609, poste
3003

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MINISTERE DES RESSOURCES NATURELLES ET DE LA FAUNE

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