Raccoon Rabies Prevention – Wild animal vaccination operation in Montérégie

Québec, August 9, 2019 – From August 16 to 29, 2019, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs will distribute vaccine baits in Montérégie to immunize racoons, skunks and foxes against racoon rabies. Given the territory to cover, the vaccine will be distributed either by aircraft or manually.

From August 16 to 19, 2019, aircraft will fly at low altitudes over an area of roughly 1,398 km2, mainly over woodland, to drop approximately 175,000 rabies vaccine baits. A total of 32 municipalities in Montérégie will be covered.

Baits will also be spread manually from August 20 to 29, 2019, mostly on farmland and close to homes in woodlands, waterside zones and areas around garbage cans. Teams from the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs will cover an area of roughly 1,407 km2 and will spread 99,000 baits. The operation will target 36 municipalities in Montérégie.

What do vaccine baits look like?

  • Vaccine baits look like large olive-green ravioli.
  • They measure roughly 4 cm by 2 cm by 1 cm.
  • They are very solid (they are designed to be impact-resistant when dropped from the air).
  • The bait container must be perforated to spread the liquid vaccine, which occurs when the wild animal bites into it.

Advice for citizens during the vaccine operation

  • The vaccine baits are intended for wild animals, so you should avoid handling them.
  • Although the vaccine baits are considered safe, please take the following precautions should you come into contact with a perforated or broken bait:
    • Wash your hands and any other part of your body that came into contact with the bait using soap and water.
    • Call the number on the back of the bait or dial 811 to contact Info-Santé.

Important reminders

  • At all times, if you are bitten or scratched by an animal or come into contact with an animal you suspect may have rabies, wash the wound with soap and water for 10 minutes, even if it seems minor, and promptly contact Info-Santé at 811 to ensure proper follow-up.
  • Residents who live in enhanced surveillance and control areas can contribute significantly to the fight against raccoon rabies. They are asked to report dead raccoons, skunks and foxes or animals that seem disoriented, injured, unusually aggressive or paralysed by contacting the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs at 1-877-346-6763 or by visiting rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca .
  • Never approach an unknown wild or domestic animal even if it seems inoffensive.
  • Take steps to avoid attracting troublesome animals on your property, for example, by ensuring that outdoor garbage cans are out of reach.
  • Avoid moving troublesome animals since you could spread diseases such as rabies to other territories.
  • Consult a veterinarian to ensure that your pets receive regular rabies vaccines or to have your pet examined immediately if it is bitten by a wild animal likely to transmit rabies.

Highlights

  • Rabies is a fatal, incurable disease that can be transmitted to humans by infected animals. Enhanced surveillance activities have been maintained in 2019 so that raccoon rabies will not be introduced into Québec.
  • Cases of raccoon rabies are discovered every year in the United States, close to the border with Québec.
  • The raccoon rabies intervention plan is overseen by an interdepartmental committee composed of representatives from the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the public health departments of the Eastern Townships, Montérégie and Montréal, the Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, the Ministère de la Sécurité publique, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Université de Montréal.

Related links

For further information on raccoon rabies in Québec:  rageduratonlaveur.gouv.qc.ca .

For information on the Ministry and more information on its activities and achievements, visit mffp.gouv.qc.ca and social media networks:
Facebook MFFP https://www.facebook.com/ForetsFauneParcs
Twitter MFFP https://twitter.com/MFFP_Quebec