A confirmed case of rabies in a stray cat in rural Perth County sent Ministry of Natural Resources officials into the air on Monday dropping vaccinations.

MNR officials say no human infections have been reported.

Beverly Stevenson with the Ministry of Natural Resources says the cat may have gotten rabies from a scratch or bite from a skunk, "we think that most of the cases that are still occurring in Southwestern Ontario are originating in skunks. That's why we're doing such a small plot."

MNR officials dropped rabies vaccine in the Milverton area from a height of 500 feet. During the drop, they dropped 300 baits per square kilometers, in a 64 square km area. The disease is almost always fatal.

Dale Lyttle with the Perth District Public Health Department is advising parents to teach children that wild animals should never be touched and pets should be left alone, "Children should know not to pet animals when they're eating, when they're sick or injured."

MNR officials say the aerial vaccination program has dramatically reduced the incidence of rabies.

"We started our annual aerial baiting program in 1989 and our vaccine has been so effective that we've eliminated fox rabies in Eastern Ontario, we've eliminated raccoon rabies and we've eliminated terrestrial rabies by 99% in Ontario, "says Stevenson.

Last year, there were 26 cases of rabies, down from 1500 the year prior to the aerial baiting program.

Signs of rabies in animals include:

  • -excitability
  • -excessive aggression
  • -froth at the mouth
  • -excessive biting

Monday's vaccination bait drop is near the site where two rabid skunks were found in the past six months.