Rabies Info from NDMNRF
Below is an unedited copy of an email from the NDMNRF (Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry) directed at Ontario’s Authorized Wildlife Custodians regarding the ongoing battle to control rabies in wildlife. It also specifies what to do if you find an animal who has a suspected case of rabies …
From: Rabies (NDMNRF) <[email protected]>
Wildlife custodians provide an important front-line role in responding to the public and helping sick and injured wildlife. This is an important job and we value the work you do! We are reaching out to support you with the most up to date information regarding terrestrial rabies (raccoon and fox strains) and to ask for your continued support for rabies surveillance.
We are making progress in our goal to control and eliminate terrestrial rabies in Ontario; however, we are not out of the woods yet. We need your help!
The ministry tests dead wildlife from within the rabies surveillance and control zones (Map updated weekly) and from wildlife that showed signs or symptoms of rabies from across the province. Surveillance is key to detecting and responding quickly to any new rabies outbreaks.
While the rabies control zone in southern Ontario currently has the highest risk of terrestrial rabies, there are several other areas of concern including:
- Southwestern Ontario and Eastern Ontario due to the on-going risk of raccoon rabies from across the US border
- Northern Ontario due to the on-going risk of Arctic fox strain rabies
Please submit any terrestrial mammals that showed signs or symptoms of rabies (especially neurological symptoms) for testing to NDMNRF’s rabies program. Even in cases where you suspect other diseases, such as canine distemper or parvovirus, because:
- symptoms can appear similar
- co-infection with multiple diseases can occur
- rabies can be spread to new areas of the province when animals are moved intentionally or unintentionally
To submit a sample, call the Rabies Information Line 1-888-574-6656. For a sample to be tested it must:
- be recently dead (i.e. not decomposing) or frozen when recently dead
- have an intact brain
- be identified/tagged/labeled with
- location of capture
- contact information for the landowner
- contact information for the person submitting the sample
- date collected / euthanized
Please remember that it is important for anyone working with rabies vector species (skunks, raccoons, foxes and bats) to be vaccinated against rabies. Any cases of potential human exposure (bite, scratch, and/or saliva or neural tissue into cuts or mucus membranes) should be reported to public health immediately. Rabies is a very dangerous fatal disease.
It’s important to discourage the public from trying to capture or handle wildlife, particularly rabies vector species. Not only for their personal safety, but for the safety of the animals.
If you or the public have questions about the ministry’s rabies control program or rabies in wildlife please visit our webpage Ontario.ca/rabies, call the Rabies Information Line 1-888-574-6656 or email us at [email protected].
Additional resources for you:
- (Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative – CWHC)
- Wildlife and SARS-CoV-2: Handling Guidelines (Canada’s National One Health COVID working group).
Thank you for the work that you do!
Science Operations Supervisor (she/her)
Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section
Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry
Trent University, DNA Building
2140 East Bank Drive, Peterborough ON K9J 7B8
705-313-2043 or 705-761-5460
Please Note: As part of providing accessible customer service, please let me know if you have any accommodation needs or require communication supports or alternate formats.