Last week a stray cat from rural Ancaster tested positive for rabies. This marks the first case of rabies in a domestic animal in over 2 decades. A Caledonia man is now undergoing treatment for rabies exposure after being bitten by the positive cat. Hamilton public health and Haldimand-Norfolk Health Services are working together to investigate this case and to ensure no others were exposed.
This case has been linked to the outbreak of raccoon rabies which begun this past December. Since the outbreak 173 cases of raccoon-strain rabies have been confirmed, with the majority in raccoons and skunks. Before now Ontario had not seen rabies in a raccoon since 2005.
Rabies is a serious risk and proper measures should be taken to protect both you and your pets. Keeping a safe distance from wild or stray animals, alive or dead, is important. Supervise your pets at all times and ensure their vaccinations are up to date. Please report any animal bites or scratches to public health immediately. If you come across any sick or injured animals please call the City of Hamilton Animal Services at 905-546-2489.