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.
If you have been bitten or scratched by a domestic animal (e.g. cat or dog) or a wild animal (e.g. bat or raccoon):
- If there is an animal owner, try to get more information (e.g. owner's name, address, and/or phone number).
- Immediately and thoroughly clean the wound with soap and water. Then flush the area (if possible) with water for 15 minutes.
- Contact your health care provider, go to a walk-in clinic, or hospital emergency department.
- Report the incident to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit by phone at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520; or complete the Rabies and Animal Exposure Incident Report and fax the report to the health unit's Rabies Program at 705-725-8132.
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 owners. After the confinement period, the public health inspector will also follow up with the person who was bitten or scratched.