Update on Toronto rabies investigation

    TORONTO, Jan. 25 /CNW/ - Toronto Public Health is continuing its
investigation of rabies in dogs sold at a Toronto flea market. To date, no
human cases of rabies have been reported.
    Anyone who touched or purchased puppies at Booth No. 1513 at Dr. Flea's
Flea Market since January 5 should call their local public health unit as soon
as possible. One of the puppies sold at the flea market tested positive for
rabies, and may have come in contact with other puppies sold at this booth.
    Toronto residents should call 416-338-7600. Staff will be available until
10:00 p.m. tonight and from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Health unit staff will assess the risk of exposure to rabies. If vaccination
is required, it must be taken as soon as possible.
    The flea market booth has a sign with the name "Puppies R Us." The vendor
has also given out business cards with the name "Feed Me More Pets" and a
business location of Chesley, Ontario. Anyone who has purchased puppies from
this business at any location since January 3 should contact their local
public health unit.
    This vendor has been issued an order by the Medical Officer of Health in
the Grey Bruce Health Unit and cannot sell any puppies until further notice.
    Toronto Public Health has located 11 puppies purchased from the flea
market, and all 11 will be quarantined for ten days. At this time, none of the
puppies is showing signs of rabies.
    "Quarantine is the best way to protect the families and individuals who
purchased these dogs," said Dr. Rosana Pellizarri, Associate Medical Officer
of Health. "If the dogs show symptoms within the next ten days, we will know
that they were infectious while they were with the families, and any family
member who hasn't already been vaccinated, will require vaccination."
    If the dogs do not show symptoms during this ten-day period, it is highly
unlikely that the families are at any risk from rabies.
    Toronto Public Health has received more than 500 calls from the public
about this investigation. To date, vaccination has been recommended for
20 individuals.
    The rabies virus is found in the saliva of a rabid animal for up to ten
days before the onset of symptoms, and can be spread through a bite, cut or
scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the mouth, nose or eyes.
Rabies is rare in Ontario, and, if left untreated, is usually fatal for humans
and animals.
    Toronto Public Health is reminding the public to purchase or adopt
animals from reputable sources and always ensure that the mother of the
puppies has been vaccinated. It is also important that all pets have
up-to-date rabies vaccinations.
    For more information, visit www.toronto.ca/health.
    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality,
innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government
is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

                     Visit our website at www.toronto.ca

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Susan Sperling, Media Relations
Coordinator, Toronto Public Health, (416) 338-7974, ssperli@toronto.ca

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