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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rabies (Animal) (Human Exposure) in Canada (Ontario)

14 Dec 2015

A case of rabies virus infection has been reported in a raccoon in Stoney Creek, Hamilton, Ontario in the south east of Canada. Two bullmastiff dogs came into contact with the raccoon when they broke free from their crate whilst in the same collection van as the racoon. The owner of the dogs was notified by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) that the raccoon had subsequently tested positive for rabies virus.

At present the dogs are in quarantine as their rabies vaccination status is unknown. The dogs owner, her daughter and two animal welfare employees are undergoing rabies post-exposure prophylaxis. Other possible human exposures are being investigated. In Ontaria, rabies virus was last seen in a raccoon almost ten years ago.

Advice for Travellers

Canada is considered by WHO to be a country with low risk of rabies. There is a low risk of rabies in terrestrial animals in this country, bat rabies may also be present. Travellers are advised to avoid contact with animals (particularly wild animals) and bats, and to have any bite assessed immediately to ascertain if further action is required. Post exposure treatment should be readily available.