Halton Region is reminding residents to avoid all contact with wild animals due to a risk of rabies following a report of handling two raccoons this past weekend.
On Saturday, May 12, at approximately 7 p.m., a driver and a cyclist were reported to have had direct contact with two raccoons found at Brant Street and Upper Middle Road, in the City of Burlington. The Halton Region Health Department has contacted the driver but has not been able to contact the cyclist. The Health Department is urging the cyclist to contact a physician immediately and to call 311 to speak to a public health inspector.
"While the Halton Region Health Department has not received any positive rabies test results in wild or domestic animals in 2018, 19 positive test results were reported in wild animals in Halton region in 2017,” said Dr. Julie Emili, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with raccoons, skunks and other wild animals, including touching, handling, feeding or relocating them."
Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear will lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch.
There are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets:
- Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk or other potentially rabid animal.
- Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.
- Call 311 if you come across any sick, dead or orphaned animals.
- Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
- Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.
- Do not touch dead or sick animals.
- Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
- Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
- Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal.
For more information on rabies, visit halton.ca/rabies or call 311.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 550,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at beta.halton.ca.