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Raccoon rabies outbreak in Hamilton, Ontario: A progress report.


ABSTRACT: Background:Raccoon rabies is caused by a variant of the rabies virus found in raccoons but transmissible to other mammalian species, including humans. The disease of rabies caused by raccoon variant rabies virus is indistinguishable from rabies caused by other rabies virus variants. Objective:This paper describes the raccoon rabies outbreak in Ontario (identified in December 2015) and the control measures undertaken to curb the spread of the epizootic using the One Health approach. Investigation and Results:Representatives from local, provincial and federal agencies collectively activated a raccoon rabies response that involved policy updates, enhanced surveillance, a public education campaign and mass vaccination of wildlife and domestic animals. Between December 2015 and June 2017, 338 animals tested positive for raccoon rabies in Ontario. While the majority of the cases were raccoons, there was significant spillover into striped skunks, as well as other species including two cats, a fox and a llama. Viral genome sequencing determined that this epizootic was likely caused by long-distance translocation from the United States. Conclusion:This outbreak of raccoon rabies is by far the largest to have occurred in Canada and the first raccoon rabies outbreak documented in a densely populated urban area. This is also the first time this rabies virus variant has been identified in a domestic animal in Canada. A collaborative approach involving numerous stakeholders in the public and private sectors has been instrumental in addressing this epizootic. Though case incidence appears to be declining, several years will likely be required to reach elimination. Continued collaboration between these agencies is necessary to achieve this goal.

SUBMITTER: Lobo D 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6449115 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.14745/ccdr.v42i06a03

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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