Halton Residents Asked to Stay Away From Wild Animals

A cyclist who encountered two raccoons in Burlington is being asked to immediately contact a doctor and phone 311 to speak to a public health inspector.

"While the Halton Region health department has not received any positive rabies test results in wild or domestic animals in 2018, 19 positive test results were reported in wild animals in Halton region in 2017," said associate medical officer of health Dr. Julie Emili.

"The health department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with raccoons, skunks and other wild animals, including touching, handling, feeding or relocating them."

Residents are being reminded to avoid all contact with wild animals following the incident, which took place on May 12 at 7 p.m.

That’s when a driver and a cyclist were reported to have had direct contact with two raccoons found at Brant St. and Upper Middle Rd.

The health department has contacted the driver but hasn’t been able to reach the cyclist.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear will lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch.

About a dozen cases were confirmed locally in the last two years.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets:

  • Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk or other potentially rabid animal.
  • Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region health department.
  • Call 311 if you come across any sick, dead or orphaned animals.
  • Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
  • Don’t feed or keep wild animals as pets.
  • Don’t touch dead or sick animals.
  • Make sure your pet's rabies vaccinations are up to date.
  • Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
  • Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal.

For more information on rabies, visit halton.ca/rabies or call 311.

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves more than 550,000 residents in Burlington, Oakville, Milton, and Halton Hills.

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