Two bats test positive for rabies amid outbreak in Hamilton


Published June 8, 2023 at 10:18 am

People are being warned about the outbreak of rabies as Hamilton has confirmed two positive rabid bats. 

No humans were in contact with these bats, the City said today (June 8).

The two confirmed cases are the first positive results of bat rabies in the city since August 2022. Bats have tested positive for rabies almost every year in Hamilton, according to the City.

The City reminds residents to stay away from bats and other animals that can carry rabies such as raccoons, skunks and foxes, as well as stray or unknown cats and dogs. 

Hamilton’s current outbreak of rabies mainly affects raccoons and skunks. Since December 2015, 330 animals have tested positive for the fatal virus. One fox and two stray cats also tested positive, according to the City.

Rabies affects mammals, including humans. Wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats are common sources of the deadly virus. An infected animal transmits rabies through its saliva, usually when it bites. Other ways the virus is spread is when saliva enters the body through scratches, open wounds or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes.

Animals with rabies can become aggressive or seem “sick, scared, or friendly,” according to the City.

The City has these tips to prevent rabies:

  • Avoid all contact with wild animals including raccoons, skunks, bats, unknown dogs and cats and other wild animals, including feeding or helping them.
  • Call Hamilton Animal Services at 905-546-2489 if you see a dead, sick or strangely acting raccoon, skunk, bat or other wild animal.
  • If you are bitten by an animal or had direct contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the wound with soap and water, seek medical attention immediately or call Public Health Services at 905-546-2489.
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep rabies vaccinations current for dogs and cats.
  • Contact your vet if your pet is in contact with a wild animal.


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