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York Region confirms first 2024 case of rabies after infected bat found in Whitchurch-Stouffville

A bat is seen mid-flight in this generic image from Getty. (Source: Getty Images) A bat is seen mid-flight in this generic image from Getty. (Source: Getty Images)
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York Region is reporting its first case of rabies for 2024.

In a June 14 news release, the Regional Municipality of York said it has received confirmation that a bat has tested positive for the virus in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Rabies is a virus that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans.

It is transmitted through a bite, a lick, or a scratch from an infected animal.

Typically, most cases are seen in bats, foxes, raccoons, and skunks, but dogs and cats are also at risk of contracting rabies.

The region said that the virus is “usually always fatal” for animals and humans, however a post-exposure vaccine is available for those who come into contact with a potentially rabid animal.

York Region Public Health (YRPH) investigates all animal bites and non-bite incidents like scratches and contact with open cuts.

Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or had contact with a warm-blooded mammal is being advised to immediately wash the wound with soap and water for a minimum of 15 minutes, seek medical attention, and report the incident to YRPH at 1-800-361-5653.

And while the risk of rabies infection is low, the Regional Municipality of York is reminding residents to be aware of what they can do to prevent rabies:

-Do not feed, touch, or allow pets to come into contact with any wild or stray animal

-Avoid moving or attempting to relocate any wild or strange animals, especially those that may be behaving oddly

-Ensure your pets are up to date on their mandatory rabies vaccination

-If you suspect your pet or livestock have come in contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon or another wild or stray animal, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible

-Take measures to keep wild or stray animals away from your home

-Contact a professional company to proof your home from nesting wild animals

For more information about rabies control can be found online.

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