News Release: August 1, 2019
Residents should stay vigilant around wild animals to protect against rabies
First confirmed case of rabies in Peel this year found in bat
Brampton, ON (August 1, 2019) – The Region of Peel - Public 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. The vaccine is extremely effective but must be administered before symptoms appear.
It is not always possible to identify if a bat or other animal has rabies. However rabid animals may move slowly and be unresponsive to loud noises. Bats may lose the ability to fly and remain active during daylight hours.
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 feed or keep wild animals as pets.
- Do not touch dead or sick animals.
- Ensure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
- Keep pets on a leash when off your property.
- Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it comes in contact with wild animals.
- If physical contact is made with any wild animal, immediately wash the area of contact using soap and water to reduce the chances of an infection.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a potentially rabid animal such as a bat, skunk or raccoon.
- Report all animal bites or scratches to Peel Region Health Department at 905-799-7700.
For more information on rabies or to report an animal bite or scratch, call the Peel Regional Health Department by calling 905-799-7700. Visit peelregion.ca for more information.
Region of Peel, Public Health
The Region of Peel works with residents and partners to create a healthy, safe and connected Community for Life for approximately 1.5 million people and over 175,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. Peel's services touch the lives of residents every day. For more information about the Region of Peel, explore peelregion.ca and follow us on Twitter @regionofpeel and Instagram @peelregion.ca.