Residents warned to stay vigilant around wild animals to protect against rabies

Peel Health has received test results confirming that a bat found in Brampton had rabies. This is the first confirmed case of rabies in 2019 for an animal tested in Peel Region.

Rabies is a viral disease that, in humans, can cause severe damage to the brain and spinal cord. If it is left untreated before symptoms appear, rabies will lead to death. The rabies virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch.

“Transmission of rabies by bats to humans is rare,” states Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. “However, residents who may have had physical contact with a bat should see a physician immediately to be assessed.”

Transmission can be prevented after exposure by immunization with the rabies vaccine, which must be administered before symptoms appear.

It is not always possible to identify if an animal has rabies. However rabid animals may move slowly and be unresponsive to loud noises.

There are several things you can do to protect your family and pets:

  • Keep children away from any unknown, wild, stray or aggressive animals.
  • Do not touch dead or sick animals.
  • Ensure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
  • Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it comes in contact with wild animals.
  • If contact is made with any wild animal, wash the area of contact using soap and water
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a potentially rabid animal such as a bat, skunk or raccoon.

Photo courtesy of Rabies Information System of the WHO

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