Rabies vaccine airdropped this week in Waterloo Region, other areas
A piece of bait containing the rabies vaccine is pictured on Thursday, March 31, 2016. (Marc Venema / CTV Kitchener)
Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:27PM EDT
As Ontario’s rabies outbreak slowly start to subside, provincial crews are once again airdropping packages containing the rabies vaccine across parts of Ontario.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, bait drops were scheduled to take place Wednesday and Thursday in areas around Elmira, St. Agatha, Brussels and Millgrove.
Animals found around those four communities over the winter tested positive for the rabies virus.
This week’s flights were to focus primarily on rural areas, with vaccine packages being delivered by hand in built-up areas at the same time.
The packages are khaki-green coloured and coated with a vanilla-sugar flavour to attract wildlife. They are stamped with the words “Do not eat” and a telephone number to call for more information.
The ministry says anyone who encounters one of the packages should leave it for animals to consume. Touching it can eliminate the wildlife-attracting scent. The vaccine is not harmful if consumed by people or animals.
Ontario is dealing with two separate rabies outbreaks. A raccoon-strain outbreak began in Hamilton in late 2015, when a raccoon got into a fight with two dogs in an animal control van. Rabies cases as far away as Brant County have been linked to this outbreak.
The other outbreak began shortly after the first one. It involves fox-strain rabies and encompasses an area stretching from Blyth in the west to northern parts of Waterloo Region in the east.
Hundreds of animals have tested positive for rabies since the outbreaks began, although the pace of new cases has slowed significantly in recent months.
There were five positive tests in Ontario in February and eight in January. In mid-2016, at the height of the outbreak, there were approximately 30 rabies diagnoses per month.