PETERBOROUGH — Rabies may be on the ropes in Ontario, with about a 35 per cent drop in cases last year and the elimination of one strain entirely, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
There were just 18 reported cases — all big brown bats — Ontario-wide last year, compared to 28 in 2013. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 3,600 cases recorded 30 years ago.
But the ministry cautions the decrease may be chalked up to fewer reports or training gaps in the handover of rabies surveillance from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to health units and OMAFRA.
Western and Southern Ontario counted 12 rabies cases in 2014: one each in Huron, Wentworth, Brant, and Elgin, two in Waterloo, and three each in the Middlesex and Niagara areas. So far this year, as of March 31 only one case of a rabid big brown bat had been found in Durham Region.
For the first time since rabies crept into Ontario in the 1950s, there was not a single reported case of terrestrial rabies. With the last confirmed case in June 2012, southern Ontario can now be declared free of Arctic strain rabies.