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🦝⚕️ Raccoon Rabies Control - Increased Risk of Raccoon Rabies Introduction: Public Urged to Be Vigilant in At-Risk Areas 🦝

Thursday, 18 April 2024 06:22.PM

Due to the recent increase in the number of cases of raccoon rabies reported in Vermont, near Québec, the Ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs is calling on the population of the Estrie and Montérégie regions to exercise vigilance and report all wild animals that are suspected of having rabies.

Since March 2022, more than 30 cases of raccoon rabies have been detected in Vermont, between Burlington and the Canada-U.S. border, along Lake Champlain. In March 2024, cases of infected raccoons were confirmed near the border. Some of these cases are located in an area where no wild animal vaccination campaigns have been conducted since 2020. The risk of raccoon rabies introduction into Québec has risen significantly.

To reduce the risk of the disease's introduction into Québec, the Ministère is continuing to work closely with American authorities, who have deployed broad-based action to limit the extent and progression of the outbreak. The Ministère is also working on conducting vaccination campaigns targeting wild animals in Montérégie and Estrie, to protect the health of the human population. Details of these operations will be announced at a later date.

Call for public vigilance in the Haut-Richelieu and Brome-Missisquoi RCMs

Due to the rabies outbreak in northern Vermont in the United States, the Ministère is asking the population of the Haut-Richelieu and Brome-Missisquoi RCMs, particularly border residents, to actively participate in enhanced surveillance.

The public is being asked to report dead, apparently disoriented, injured or abnormally aggressive or paralyzed raccoons, skunks and foxes by calling 1-877-346-6763 or by completing an online form.

Safe behaviour reminder

• If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal or have come into contact with its saliva, wash the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes, even if it appears to be minor. Call Info-Santé 811 immediately for advice on appropriate medical care.
• Never approach an unknown wild or domestic animal, even if it seems harmless.
• Never touch an animal carcass with your bare hands.
• Take steps to avoid attracting wild animals to your property (e.g. keep your outdoor garbage cans out of reach of wildlife and do not feed pet animals outdoors).
• Do not relocate nuisance animals or animals that appear to be orphaned. Relocation can spread diseases such as rabies to other areas.
• See a vet to have your pets vaccinated against rabies or if they have been in contact with a wild animal that may carry the disease.

Quick facts:

• Rabies is a contagious, fatal disease that can infect all mammals. It can be transmitted from infected animals to humans. In addition to raccoon rabies, other variants of rabies are present in Québec, among bats and, in northern Québec, among foxes. Caution is advisable at all times and with all species of mammals.
• A plan to control raccoon rabies has been in force since 2006, following the detection of the first case in Québec.
• The control plan's intervention measures are based on the recommendations of an expert committee and are endorsed by an interministerial committee comprising members of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation and the Ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs.
• Québec has been working with neighbouring American states and Canadian provinces for many years. These joint concerted efforts are aimed at eliminating raccoon rabies from northeastern North America.
• The intervention measures carried out in Québec are determined based on changes to the raccoon rabies situation in neighbouring states. These measures are drawn from those set out in the raccoon rabies emergency response plan, which seeks to rapidly delimit and control the disease's spread.

SOURCE: Ministère de l'Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs