Rabies vaccine-dropping campaign hits Wellington County
A piece of bait containing the rabies vaccine is pictured on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Marc Venema / CTV Kitchener)
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Monday, July 31, 2017 12:27PM EDT
Small packets containing doses of the rabies vaccine are starting to show up in Wellington County.
Hundreds of thousands of such packets are being airdropped and hand-delivered across southern Ontario this summer as part of the attempt to stop a rabies outbreak that has seen hundreds of confirmed cases of the virus since the end of 2015.
There have been no positive tests for rabies in Guelph or Wellington County. However, the area is part of the “control zone” established by the province due to positive tests in nearby communities like Waterloo Region, Perth County and Hamilton.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said Monday that baits have started to be dropped in their area. Airdropping is planned for forests and rural areas, while greenspaces in urban areas will see bait packets delivered by hand.
Health authorities say anyone who comes across a bait packet should not touch it, unless it is an area where children may find it. If a packet must be moved, a plastic bag should be placed over the hands and used to move the bag. (This is because the packets are scented, and human contact can override that scent.)
Rabies can be spread from infected animals to other mammals, including humans, through bites or other contact with saliva. It is typically fatal.
Jessica Morris, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s manager of health protection, says people can minimize their risk of contracting rabies by avoiding contact with wild animals and ensuring their pets have been vaccinated against the disease.
Most of the rabies cases during the southern Ontario outbreak have been diagnosed in and around Hamilton. Raccoons and skunks are responsible for the bulk of the cases.