QUÉBEC CITY, June 20, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - The Québec Government would like to inform the population that it is continuing raccoon rabies prevention operations in the Eastern Townships and Montérégie, with a view to protecting public health.
Enhanced surveillance and control activities carried out in Québec since 2006 have produced good results, but the risk that raccoon rabies will spread to the province is real. All animal movements, natural or not, are a contributing factor in the spread of diseases such as rabies.
The Québec Government has continued to monitor the situation closely. However, a spring vaccine bait campaign was not carried out this year, due to the decrease of raccoon rabies cases identified in the vicinity of the Québec-United States border. Control activities will begin in August with manual and aerial distribution of vaccine baits. The goal is to immunize raccoons, skunks and foxes against rabies, so as to avoid an outbreak of the disease in Québec.
As the summer season begins and citizens start to take advantage of the good weather to travel, stay at a cottage or take part in outdoor activities, the Québec Government has called for vigilance and prudence. The general public has an important role to play in rabies control operations by behaving in a safe manner towards wildlife and reporting any wild animals that appear to be suffering from rabies.
Advice for citizens
- Vigilance and care are needed year-round.
- Never approach an unknown animal, whether wild or domesticated, even if it looks harmless.
- Rabies is a deadly disease and is incurable in humans. If symptoms are visible, it is already too late. However, the disease can be prevented if a vaccine is administered immediately after exposure to the virus.
- If you are bitten or scratched, or if you come into contact with animal saliva, clean the wound, however minor it may seem, for 10 minutes using soap and water, and contact Info-Santé immediately by dialling 811, to obtain medical assistance if necessary.
- See your vet to have your pet animals vaccinated against rabies.
- Consult a vet if your pet is bitten by or comes into contact with a wild animal or an animal that may be infected with rabies.
- Take steps to avoid attracting wild animals onto your property: put garbage away, do not feed wildlife, and block access to buildings.
- Do not relocate wild animals even if they are unwanted, injured or sick. Relocation can spread diseases such as rabies to other areas.
What can the population do to help ensure that raccoon rabies prevention operations are successful?
- Always report dead raccoons, skunks and foxes, and any wild animals that are disoriented, injured, unusually aggressive or paralyzed, by contacting the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs at 1 877 346-6763 or by completing the online form at rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca.
Some essential information:
- Rabies is deadly for humans and animals alike. It is spread mainly via the saliva of infected animals, usually through a bite.
- Once the symptoms of rabies appear, death will occur in 100% of cases.
- Raccoon rabies was discovered for the first time in Québec in 2006. It had spread to the province from the northern United States, where it was first detected in the 1990s.
- Between 2006 and 2009, 104 cases of raccoon rabies were identified in wild animals in Montérégie.
- One case was identified in Québec in 2015, in the Akwesasne Indian Reserve. The case was associated with an outbreak of the disease earlier that year in northern New York State.
- Québec is working closely with neighbouring territories (the United States, Ontario and New Brunswick) to eliminate raccoon rabies from North America.
- Cases of raccoon rabies are discovered every year in the United States, close to the border with Québec. The prevention plan therefore continues to be necessary.
- Citizens' reports are one of the best ways of identifying wild animals suffering from rabies.
About the Raccoon Rabies Prevention Plan
Raccoon rabies prevention operations are managed by an inter-ministerial committee composed of representatives from the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the public health departments of the Eastern Townships, Montérégie and Montreal, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation, the regional public safety and fire departments of Montérégie and the Eastern Townships, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Université de Montréal.
For further information on raccoon rabies prevention operations in Québec and on rabies in general, or to report a dead or suspect animal, please visit rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca.
Direction des communications
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
Tel.: 418 627-8609, ext. 3061
SOURCE Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs
For further information: Source: Nicolas Bégin, Media Relations, Direction des communications, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Tel.: 418 627-8609, ext. 3061