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September 28th is World Rabies Day

September 27, 2023

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 60,000 human deaths from rabies each year in Asia and Africa.  In Canada, we are fortunate to have access to rabies treatment following an exposure which saves lives.  However reducing rabies in the animal population is key and takes a multi-prong approach which includes such actions as:

  • Aerial dropping of rabies vaccine in bait form to help control rabies in the wildlife population,  
  • Vaccination of cats, dogs and some other domestic animals,
  • Mandatory reporting of exposures,
  • Stricter import rules on rescue animals, and
  • Bite prevention awareness campaigns to reduce exposures

Vaccination against rabies protects our furry companions who add so much to our lives. It is also required by law for owners of cats, dogs and some other domestic animals to vaccinate them against rabies. Keeping your pet’s vaccination up to date is an important tool to reduce the risk of rabies transmission in our communities. Each year the Health Unit responds to hundreds of animal bites. Along with the pain and possible emotional and physical scarring caused by a bite is the risk of exposure to rabies. Protect your pet, your family and members of the community by ensuring your pet is up to date on its rabies vaccination.

You can protect yourself and your family from animal bites by staying away from unknown or wild animals and teaching children how to safely interact with animals.  If you or any member of your family has been bitten or scratched by or otherwise been in contact with a potentially rabid animal, seek medical attention from your health care provider, or go to your local hospital emergency department immediately. The Health Unit follows up on all reports of bites. If you are the owner of a pet involved in a biting incident, regain control over your pet, provide assistance to the person bitten and provide your contact information to the person so the Health Unit can reach out to you to conduct a risk assessment.

For more information, visit the Rabies section the Health Unit website or call 1-800-660-5853. You can also follow LGLhealthunit on social media for important updates.


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