Fifth raccoon rabies case confirmed in Ontario

CAYUGA, Ont. -- Public health officials in Ontario say a fifth case of raccoon rabies has been confirmed.

The infected raccoon was found Friday in the Cayuga area, about 40 kilometres south of Hamilton, where the four earlier rabies cases were located.

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The discovery earlier this month of the first raccoon in the province to test positive for the raccoon rabies strain since 2005 prompted wildlife officials to step up their vaccine blitz.

Another 32,000 rabies vaccine baits were set to be dropped last week in an expanded area south and southwest of Hamilton in an effort to contain the outbreak.

The re-emergence of the virus only came to light after two dogs got into a fight with a sick animal in the back of an animal services van.

An animal services officer picked up the dogs, Mr. Satan and Lexus, after they escaped their yard and placed them in cages in a van with a sick raccoon.

The raccoon and one of the dogs got loose and fought in the van. Both unvaccinated dogs were hurt and exposed to the virus. Their fate remains to be determined.

The raccoon was euthanized after testing positive.



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