Rabies is a fatal disease passed to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. The virus attacks the nervous system and is not curable once symptoms develop.
The health unit investigates every reported potential rabies exposure. Any person who has information about an animal biting or scratching a person is required by law to report the incident to the health unit.
When a person is bitten or scratched by a domestic animal (e.g. cat or dog), a public health inspector will follow up with the animal owner and the animal will be confined for 10 days (usually at the owner's home). Healthy animals are not removed from their owner's home. If the animal remains healthy and free of rabies symptoms during the confinement period, there is no risk of rabies transmission to the person exposed.