Communicable Diseases Regulation 557 made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, requires physicians or registered nurse, or any other person who has information concerning any animal bite or exposure shall notify the Public Health Unit and provide relevant information.
The rabies exposure reporting form needs to completed in full by attending physician or triage nurse at the time of patient assessment so that the Public Health Unit can properly assess the exposure.
Information is to be faxed to Public Health Unit immediately or called directly if it is an urgent matter or if the exposure resulted in head face or neck contact.
Once Public Health Unit receives a report a follow-up will be done with the victim and the animal owner.
- In most circumstances, if the animal is available, health unit staff will confine the animal for a ten day period at the owner’s home under the owner’s surveillance to observe for rabies symptoms. Confinement period begins from the date of the bite and if the animal still alive after the ten days, rabies transmission to the victim is ruled out. Health unit may then need to follow up with the owner regarding the rabies vaccination status for the animal.
- If an animal is deceased but available for testing, health unit staff will connect with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to arrange for specimen collection and testing for the rabies virus.