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Rabies Surveillance Data

Rabies Surveillance Data

By law, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies, even pets that are indoor only. Livestock (e.g., cows, sheep) that are exposed to the public such as those at petting zoos and pony rides must also be vaccinated. The health unit collects information about vaccination status of animals involved in potential rabies exposure investigations, but it is unknown what proportion of all pets are vaccinated against rabies.

When an animal that has been involved in a biting incident is suspected to be infected with and is potentially at risk of transmitting the rabies virus, the health unit may arrange for the animal to be tested for rabies through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratory. Animal testing may also be arranged by veterinarians with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) in cases where the animal has not bitten or potentially exposed a human to rabies, and wildlife rabies surveillance may be conducted by wildlife organizations such as the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative. Regardless of which agency submits an animal for testing, all animals with positive rabies test results are to be reported to the health unit. This information is used for surveillance purposes and to understand risks to human health.

The health unit also tracks the administration of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis to humans as part of potential rabies exposure investigations.


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