Raccoons, skunks, bats top rabies carriers

Raccoons in Ontario were re-sponsible for most rabies cases by species and by province, according to the 2016 year-end report on rabies from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Ontario reported 288 cases of rabies last year; 171 were raccoons, 84 were skunks, 29 were bats and there was one case each in a cow, cat, llama and red fox.

Canada wide, there were 392 cases of rabies reported, affecting animals from 12 different species.

After Ontario, Saskatchewan had the second highest number of cases at 43. Of those, 22 were found in skunks and 14 in bats. Two cats were infected and there was one case each in a cow, goat, dog, horse and sheep.

British Columbia reported 18 cases and Alberta reported 10, all of them in bats. Manitoba reported 16 cases, nine of them in skunks, three in cattle and one each in a bat, goat, cat and dog.

Rabies, a viral disease, is almost always fatal in all mammals including people. It is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act.

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