Rabies fight: Massive vaccine campaign starts Friday after 76 cases confirmed

News Mar 31, 2016 by Mark McNeil The Hamilton Spectator

Six new animal rabies cases have surfaced in the Hamilton area and the province is responding with another massive anti-raccoon rabies vaccine campaign starting Friday.

So far, 52 raccoons and 24 skunks have tested positive for raccoon-based rabies, all in the Hamilton area, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara region.

Chris Davies, head of wildlife research with the province's Ministry of Natural Resources, says rabies vaccine baiting will take place in the Stratford and Golden Horseshoe areas. At different points this month, ministry officials will use a helicopter or twin-otter plane to spread the baits. As well, they will be distributed by hand.

The bait drop comes after more than 219,000 anti-rabies vaccine baits were distributed in the Hamilton area last year before winter. Davies says those baits would still be effective if ingested by wildlife today, but they would be less attractive to raccoons to consume because of winter wear on the outer coating.

Raccoon rabies was eliminated in Ontario in 2005 following an outbreak in the Brockville area six years before. "There were constant rabies cases for three years, and then they declined in years four, five and six before it was eliminated," said Davies.

Ministry officials are hopeful the latest outbreak will wane more quickly this time because of the bait vaccines called ONRAB. The vaccines were not available 15 years ago.

More than 1,400 dead or sick animals have been tested so far in a large "surveillance zone" in and around Hamilton.

Davies noted that while 76 rabies cases sounds high, he noted that more than 1,330 animals were found to not have the disease, and there have been no raccoon rabies cases beyond Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara. That gives some confidence the disease is at least being contained.

mmcneil@thespec.com

905-526-4687 | @Markatthespec

Rabies fight: Massive vaccine campaign starts Friday after 76 cases confirmed

News Mar 31, 2016 by Mark McNeil The Hamilton Spectator

Six new animal rabies cases have surfaced in the Hamilton area and the province is responding with another massive anti-raccoon rabies vaccine campaign starting Friday.

So far, 52 raccoons and 24 skunks have tested positive for raccoon-based rabies, all in the Hamilton area, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara region.

Chris Davies, head of wildlife research with the province's Ministry of Natural Resources, says rabies vaccine baiting will take place in the Stratford and Golden Horseshoe areas. At different points this month, ministry officials will use a helicopter or twin-otter plane to spread the baits. As well, they will be distributed by hand.

The bait drop comes after more than 219,000 anti-rabies vaccine baits were distributed in the Hamilton area last year before winter. Davies says those baits would still be effective if ingested by wildlife today, but they would be less attractive to raccoons to consume because of winter wear on the outer coating.

Raccoon rabies was eliminated in Ontario in 2005 following an outbreak in the Brockville area six years before. "There were constant rabies cases for three years, and then they declined in years four, five and six before it was eliminated," said Davies.

Ministry officials are hopeful the latest outbreak will wane more quickly this time because of the bait vaccines called ONRAB. The vaccines were not available 15 years ago.

More than 1,400 dead or sick animals have been tested so far in a large "surveillance zone" in and around Hamilton.

Davies noted that while 76 rabies cases sounds high, he noted that more than 1,330 animals were found to not have the disease, and there have been no raccoon rabies cases beyond Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara. That gives some confidence the disease is at least being contained.

mmcneil@thespec.com

905-526-4687 | @Markatthespec

Rabies fight: Massive vaccine campaign starts Friday after 76 cases confirmed

News Mar 31, 2016 by Mark McNeil The Hamilton Spectator

Six new animal rabies cases have surfaced in the Hamilton area and the province is responding with another massive anti-raccoon rabies vaccine campaign starting Friday.

So far, 52 raccoons and 24 skunks have tested positive for raccoon-based rabies, all in the Hamilton area, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara region.

Chris Davies, head of wildlife research with the province's Ministry of Natural Resources, says rabies vaccine baiting will take place in the Stratford and Golden Horseshoe areas. At different points this month, ministry officials will use a helicopter or twin-otter plane to spread the baits. As well, they will be distributed by hand.

The bait drop comes after more than 219,000 anti-rabies vaccine baits were distributed in the Hamilton area last year before winter. Davies says those baits would still be effective if ingested by wildlife today, but they would be less attractive to raccoons to consume because of winter wear on the outer coating.

Raccoon rabies was eliminated in Ontario in 2005 following an outbreak in the Brockville area six years before. "There were constant rabies cases for three years, and then they declined in years four, five and six before it was eliminated," said Davies.

Ministry officials are hopeful the latest outbreak will wane more quickly this time because of the bait vaccines called ONRAB. The vaccines were not available 15 years ago.

More than 1,400 dead or sick animals have been tested so far in a large "surveillance zone" in and around Hamilton.

Davies noted that while 76 rabies cases sounds high, he noted that more than 1,330 animals were found to not have the disease, and there have been no raccoon rabies cases beyond Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara. That gives some confidence the disease is at least being contained.

mmcneil@thespec.com

905-526-4687 | @Markatthespec