Continued outbreak leads to second year of baiting
By Kaitlynn Anderson
Southern Ontario is facing a rabies outbreak that has now lasted for longer than 18 months.
Through an intensive campaign, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is striving to prevent the problem from getting any worse.
Packets of rabies vaccine will be both airdropped and handed out in an attempt to halt the outbreak. Bait will be distributed in the control zone later this month, and airdropped vaccines will be released in forests and remote areas afterwards.
The control zone and baiting schedule can be found online. A map of the covered area is shown below.
Government of Ontario
The bait is targeted toward rabies in foxes, raccoons and skunks.
There is currently no effective method to vaccinate bats, who are common carriers of the virus, according to the Ministry.
While there have been no reported cases throughout the outbreak, it is possible for humans to contract rabies.
The Ministry recommends the following advice if farmers see a potentially rabid animal:
• Keep your distance and don’t touch the animal
• Don’t touch dead animal carcasses, as they can still contain the live rabies virus
• Stay away from animals that are behaving strangely or that you suspect are rabid
• Don’t keep wild animals as pets
• Vaccinate your pets
More information is available on the government website.
Residents are reminded to avoid opening, consuming or directly touching the packet. If the bait must be moved, farmers are urged to do so only with a plastic bag covering their hand.
View previous coverage of rabies in Ontario here in the Better Farming magazine.