Bat tests positive for rabies virus in York Region

The Regional Municipality of York has received confirmation a bat has tested positive for the rabies virus in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. This is the first confirmed rabies case in York Region in 2024. While the risk of rabies infection remains low, York Region is reminding residents to be aware of what they can do to prevent rabies.

The rabies virus affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded mammals, including humans, and is transmitted through a bite, lick or scratch from a rabies-infected animal. While most reported cases involve wild animals such as bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks, dogs and cats are also at risk.

Infection with the rabies virus is usually always fatal for animals and humans. A post-exposure vaccine is available for people who come into contact with a potentially rabid animal.

York Region Public Health investigates all animal bites and non-bite incidents such as scratches and contact with open cuts. If you have been bitten, scratched or had contact with a warm-blooded mammal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water for a minimum of 15 minutes, seek medical attention and report the incident to York Region Public Health at 1-800-361-5653.

Below are some tips to avoid potential infection:
• Do not feed, touch or allow pets to come into contact with any wild or stray animal
• Avoid moving or attempting to relocate any wild or strange animals, especially those that may be behaving oddly
• Ensure your pets are up to date on their mandatory rabies vaccination
• If you suspect your pet or livestock have come in contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon or another wild or stray animal, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible
• Take measures to keep wild or stray animals away from your home
• Contact a professional company to proof your home from nesting wild animals

For more information about rabies control, visit

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