All-Time High Incidence of Rabies In Ontario – How to Stay Safe

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The beautiful weather brings us outside. But it is also a great appeal to insects and wild animals. The sunny days can pose the risk of bites, rabies, West Nile virus, and Lyme disease. See below how to protect yourself and your family while enjoying the time in nature. 

Although the West Nile virus and Lyme Disease tested positive for a small number of cases, rabies made its presence felt in a large spread.

The soared spread stems from a large number of raccoons and skunks infected with rabies – 126 and 76, respectively. In this regard, 2017 had lower rates of animal contamination.

Despite the few cases of rabid animals since 2016, Ontario was a safe place in this regard before. But the disease wasn’t completely erased from the city landscape. The outbreak has to disappear for at least two years to be considered the end of the epidemic, according to industry standards.

They May Be Fluffy And Cute, But They Belong To Nature

The direct contact with rabies usually occurs by finding an injured or dead animal in the wild and touching it, says Jane Murrell, a public health inspector with the city of Hamilton.

It’s when they interact with that wildlife when they want to help it. What our issue is, is with the raccoons and with skunks, people have picked them up, put them in their car and taken home for rehab.- said Murrell.

Murrel says that encountered cases where people grabbed baby raccoons, brought them home in a box and let the little children play with them, which is wrong at so many levels.

The best way of prevention is by keeping the distance from stray or wild animals.

The lesson, Murrell says, is don’t get close to wildlife or animals you don’t know. Cats and dogs can also be carriers of wildlife transmissible disease, as they didn’t receive any previous vaccination.

Since 2016 have been identified two cats that carried rabies. Besides, insects transmitted  West Nile Virus and Lyme disease, giving rise to sick cases.

Mosquitoes and thicks have been classified as a severe threat in this regard since 2015. The two bacterial diseases cause rashes, fever, tiredness, and headaches.

If proper treatment is not applied for Lyme disease, it can grow in chronic joint pain and arthritis. But West Nile Virus is not a significant threat for a human being. Even it can pose some risks.

Worst case scenario, it can affect the nervous system in the brain and bring on meningitis. But four-out-of-five people generally don’t get any symptoms at all, said Ninh Tran, Hamilton’s associate medical officer of health.

He also states that two years ago, Lyme disease started to be a severe public issue for Ontario.

In the case of animal or insects bite, wash the area with soap and water, and make an appointment with a doctor. Mosquitoes bites can be soothed with aloe, honey, antihistamines, basil or corticosteroid cream. Other symptoms, like fever, headache, or body aches, should receive additional specialized care.


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