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Rabies is a fatal disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). You can get rabies from a bite or scratch by an animal with rabies. 

In order to prevent human cases of rabies, Huron Perth Public Health investigates human-animal exposures (bites or scratches). 

You must report all animal bites or scratches to Huron Perth Public Health right away for follow up. In the past few years, several types of animals have tested positive for rabies in Huron and Perth counties, including bats, skunks and cows. 

If you've been bitten or scratched by an animal, you should: 

  • Wash the wound with soap and water 
  • Contact your family doctor immediately 
  • Contact us to report the incident as soon as possible 

If you see an animal that you think may have rabies, contact your local animal control office. You can avoid the risk of rabies and animal bites or scratches by following these tips: 

  • Be aware of the presence of unfamiliar or wild animals in your neighbourhood 
  • Review the warning signs of rabies in wild animals and pets 
  • Have your pets vaccinated for rabies; it is the law in Ontario that all cats, dogs and ferrets over 3 months of age are vaccinated for rabies.
    • Low-cost rabies vaccination clinics are held in Huron Perth several times a year. Please visit the Stratford Perth Humane Society webpage for more information. Blyth Veterinary Services also hosts low-cost rabies vaccination clinics in partnership with HPPH. Follow HPPH on Facebook or X for clinic announcements. 
  • Walk your pets on a leash and keep them inside at night
  • Don't feed or touch wild, stray or unknown animals
  • Don't leave food out
  • Avoid animals that appear sick or are acting strange
  • Don't trap wild animals
  • Don't keep wild animals as pets
  • Bat-proof your home and cottage 

Information for Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers are required to notify Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) of any animal bite or contact that could cause rabies. View the recommended management of patients with rabies exposure. 

Immediately report all animal exposure incidents to Huron Perth Public Health. Complete the Rabies and Animal Exposure Incident Report form[PDF] and fax to 1-833-482-7820. 

A public health inspector will investigate and complete a risk assessment to determine if rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (rPEP) is recommended per Ministry of Health Guidelines. 

For urgent consultations regarding a suspicious animal exposure, a head, face or neck exposure, or for the release of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, please call: 

Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.1-888-221-2133 
After hours, weekends and holidays: 1-800-431-2054 

Please report any RabIg and/or Rabies Vaccine used in ER departments to HPPH by using the Rabies Vaccine Taken From-ER Fridge [PDF] form so we can replenish stock in a timely manner. 

For individuals who were not previously immunized against rabies: 

  • Physicians can request rabies post-exposure prophylaxis from HPPH 
  • For immunocompetent patients, treatment involves administration of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period 
  • For immunocompromised patients or those taking antimalarials, an additional fifth dose of vaccine is given and antibody titres should be determined 7 to 14 days after completing the series 

For individuals previously immunized against rabies: 

  • Administer two doses of rabies vaccine on day 0 and day 3 
  • Do not administer immune globulin 

Please remember to double check the guidance documents sent to you from HPPH along with your rabies vaccine and immune globulin. Alternatively, call the Health Unit before you start your patient on immune globulin and/or vaccine to confirm dosing amounts and to help avoid any errors. 

We recommend pre-exposure rabies vaccination for people who will be: 

  • Travelling to areas where rabies is common and there is little to no access to medical care 
  • Working in a job that may expose them to rabies (e.g. veterinarians, animal control workers etc.) 

People who require vaccine for travel purposes may book an appointment at one of the travel health clinics in London. Huron Perth Public Health does not provide pre-exposure vaccine for those working in high-risk professions. 

For more information about treating patients with rabies, view: 

Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133

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