A Caledonia resident is being treated after a bite from a rabid stray cat that may have comefrom the rural Ancaster area.
If the cat is found to have originated here it would be the first case of a rabid domestic animal in more than 20 years in Hamilton say public health authorities.
Hamilton’s public health department is now working to determine if any city residents could have been exposed to the animal, according to a release issued today.
Experts won’t know until next week whether the virus is the same raccoon rabies strain that has snowballed into an outbreak in the Hamilton area. The deadly virus has been confirmed in 100 raccoons and 52 skunks so far in the city.
“The rabies risk is real – our goal is to protect the health of our community and prevent human cases of rabies which is almost always fatal,” says Dr. Jessica Hopkins, Associate Medical Officer of Health, City of Hamilton.
The city offers these tips to protect residents from the virus:
• Keep a safe distance from wild and unknown animals. Rabies can make animals aggressive or it can make them appear sick, scared, or friendly;
• Avoid contact with live or dead animals including raccoons, skunks, other land animals and bats, and unknown dogs and cats;
• Keep your pets supervised.
• Vaccinate your pets against rabies, and keep shots current;
• Report animal bites and scratches to public health by calling 905-546- 2489 (Hamilton) or 905-318-5367 (Haldimand). Wash wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
• If you see sick, injured or strange behaving wildlife report it to City of Hamilton Animal Services 905-546- 2489 or if in Haldimand contact the Welland SPCA 1-888-222-0568