A second cat tested positive for rabies in Hamilton this past Monday February 6th. These two cats are the first domestic animals shown to have the raccoon strain of rabies in 10 years. 278 animals have tested positive for rabies since December 2015, of these 224 were found in Hamilton. Broken down there have been 140 raccoons, 81 skunks, 1 fox and 2 cats.
People should be cautious and avoid stray, wild or unknown animals including cats and dogs. Pets can be protected by not leaving them outside unattended and ensuring their vaccinations are up to date. It is important to remember that an animal can appear normal and still be able to transmit the virus just prior to showing symptoms.
Currently the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not expect to eliminate the virus in less than 5 years. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year the ministry’s rabies control program cost $4-4.3 million. Similar expenses are estimated in 2017-2018. Cost could climb to $8-12 million per year if rabies is not controlled. These expenses include vaccine baiting programs, testing, treatments and dealing with infected animals.
Click the links below to view 2 related articles on the current rabies outbreak by The Hamilton Spectator