Health and Wellness

Wildlife Rabies Control Program is once again successful (04/10/08)

NB 1115

Oct. 8, 2004

FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Wildlife Rabies Control Program has been successful once again in maintaining the buffer zone against rabies, reported Health and Wellness Minister Elvy Robichaud.

"We are very satisfied with results obtained in our fourth year of trapping and vaccinating wildlife in southwestern New Brunswick," Robichaud said. "Through our Provincial Health Plan, we are committed to preventing, managing and controlling devastating communicable disease such as rabies."

Between Aug. 11 and Oct. 7, a team of trappers live-trapped, vaccinated and released 729 raccoons. During this same period, 320 skunks and 277 stray cats were also vaccinated against rabies and released.

In 2003, the trapping period ran from Aug. 15 to Sept. 29 and 810 raccoons were live-trapped, vaccinated and released. As well, 269 skunks and 304 stray cats received vaccines against rabies and were released.

Raccoon rabies entered New Brunswick from Maine in the fall of 2000, when 13 cases were reported in raccoons and skunks. In 2001, 48 cases were reported in wild animals. The first Wildlife Rabies Control Program was delivered in the fall of 2001. Only three cases were reported in the spring of 2002. Since then, there has not been a case of raccoon rabies detected in the province. Raccoon rabies cases continue to be found in Maine every year.

Vaccination protects animals against the disease, and helps prevent the spread of rabies. However, New Brunswickers should still take preventative measures to reduce the risk of contracting the virus. These include being a responsible pet owner by vaccinating pets and enjoying wildlife from a distance.

No human cases of rabies have ever been diagnosed in New Brunswick.

Additional information on rabies can be found online at http://www.gnb.ca, keyword: Health, by calling the Rabies Information Line at 1-877-372-2437, or by visiting a Public Health office.

04/10/08

EDITOR'S NOTE: An information list is attached. MEDIA CONTACT: Krista Petersen, communications, Health and Wellness, 506-453-2536.

How can you protect against rabies?

Awareness and prevention are the keys to reducing exposure to animals that may have rabies.

Quick medical treatment is critical to preventing the disease if exposure occurs.

Some steps you should take:

Be a responsible pet owner

Enjoy wildlife from a distance

Prevent dog and cat bites

Report suspect animals

Go to the hospital if you are bitten

04/10/08