MAJOR OPERATION RELATED TO RACCOON RABIES - CLOSE TO ONE MILLION VACCINATED BAITS WILL BE SPREAD IN THE ESTRIE AND MONTEREGIE REGIONS FROM AUGUST 18 TO 23, 2008



    SHERBROOKE, QC, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ministère des Ressources
naturelles et de la Faune (MRNF) would like to inform the public that it is in
the process of carrying out, up until August 23rd of this year, a major
operation in the Estrie and Montérégie regions to prevent the spread of
raccoon rabies. This operation consists of spreading close to one million
vaccinated baits over a territory of close to 9,000 km2. The purpose of the
operation is to vaccinate orally raccoons, skunks and foxes present on this
territory.
    Depending on the sectors, airplanes or a helicopter will fly at low
altitude to drop vaccinated baits in wooded areas. These baits resemble small
brownish-green coloured plastic pouches containing the vaccines. In addition,
clearly identified MRNF teams will use their vehicles and equipment to
manually deploy vaccinated bait on the ground in certain urbanized zones.
    "Such an operation has never before been carried out in Québec to prevent
the spread of raccoon rabies," pointed out Pierre Canac-Marquis, coordinator
of raccoon rabies control operations at the MRNF.
    Since the start of 2008, 21 positive cases have been reported in Québec,
namely 19 raccoons and 2 skunks infected with rabies of the raccoon strain.
The source of infection is mainly located in the southern part of the
Montérégie region, notably in Farnham and in Noyan. "No case has been reported
for the time being in the Estrie region and on the South Shore of Montréal,"
reiterated Mr. Canac-Marquis.

    A few guidelines for citizens

    Rabies is a fatal disease that can be transmitted from a sick animal to a
human. 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
guidelines:

    
    - Never handle vaccinated bait, even though it poses no danger for
      people, animals or the environment;
    - In case of contact with a perforated or broken bait pouch, call the
      number appearing on the back of the pouch or the Info-Santé service
      (811);
    - Never approach unknown animals. In the event of an animal bite, wash
      the wound profusely with soap and water for 10 minutes and then contact
      Info-Santé;
    - Consult a veterinarian to have pets that go outdoors vaccinated against
      rabies, dogs and cats in particular;
    - Never move wild animals in order to avoid spreading the disease and
      learn about solutions to manage situations in which wild animals are
      pests;
    - Keep outdoor garbage cans and potential shelters out of the reach of
      animals;
    - Report raccoons, skunks or foxes that are dead, disoriented, unusually
      aggressive or paralyzed to Services Québec at 1 877 644-4545.

    Raccoon rabies control and monitoring operations 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,
the health and social service agencies of the Estrie, Montérégie 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 more information on this operation and on rabies in general, consult
the following address: www.rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca.

    Source:                           Information:

    Jancimon Reid                     Pierre Canac-Marquis
    Direction des communications      Service de la biodiversité et des
    Ministère des Ressources          maladies de la faune
    naturelles et de la Faune         Ministère des Ressources naturelles
    418 627-8609, extension 3061      et de la Faune
                                      418 627-8694, extension 7422
    
    -%SU: SPT
    -%RE: 39,68




For further information:

For further information: Pierre Canac-Marquis, Service de la
biodiversité et des maladies de la faune, Ministère des Ressources naturelles
et de la Faune, (418) 627-8694, extension 7422; Source: Jancimon Reid,
Direction des communications, Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la
Faune, (418) 627-8609, extension 3061

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MINISTERE DES RESSOURCES NATURELLES ET DE LA FAUNE

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