Bats found to be most common carrier in Canada this year

Bats are the most frequent sufferers of rabies in Western Canada, with 17 cases reported in British Columbia so far this year, four in Alberta and six in Saskatchewan.

Those numbers are far less than Ontario’s figures, where 37 rabid bats have been identified so far in 2020, along with three raccoons and six skunks.

The figures arise from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s monthly report on rabies cases.

Bats account for the entire number of 2020 rabies cases in B.C. and Alberta, while Saskatchewan has also had one case in a dog and one in a skunk for a total of eight cases this year.

In Manitoba, two bovines, one cat, one dog and seven skunks have been found with rabies in 2020.

“Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of mammals, including humans. Once clinical signs appear, rabies is almost always fatal in animals and people. In Canada, the animals that most often transmit rabies are bats, skunks and foxes,” the CFIA said in its October report.

Rabies is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act. All suspect cases must be reported to the province where they occur and all suspected cases are verified by the CFIA.

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