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Monthly Board Report - November 2000
submitted by Joan Mays, Public Health Inspector
On October 6, 2000 a nine-year old boy in Montreal died from rabies. This was the first death in Canada due to rabies exposure since 1967. Investigation into the events surrounding his death pointed to probable exposure to a rabid bat, in the form of a bite or scratch while he slept.
To date for the year 2000, in the tri-County area four bats and an additional thirty-three raccoons have tested positive for rabies. There has been one confirmed human exposure to a rabid raccoon a bite to a finger, which resulted in the individual successfully completing the post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. Thirty-two individuals have undergone the post-exposure rabies prophylaxis. The decision to implement this regime was based on standard ministry protocol. This protocol recommends that individuals undergo the treatment when there has been a potential exposure to a rabid animal. In the above cases the animals involved in the biting incidents could not be located for observation or where bats had been identified in the premises while people were sleeping and exposure could not be ruled out.
The Ministry of Natural Resources has completed the aerial baiting and Trap, Vaccinate and Release programmes for the year 2000. They however, still remain active in this area in their surveillance of rabid animals, in particularly raccoons.
With the advent of raccoon rabies into our area the Board of Health retained the services of a professional trapper. His role is to assist in the capture of potential wild rabid animals that pose an imminent threat to the public’s health. To date Mr. Darcy Alkerton has assisted in the capture of 22 animals; of these two raccoons have tested positive for the raccoon strain of rabies.