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Rabies in Montreal's West Island

September 30th, 2006, 02:33 PM
Public health officials in Montreal are warning people to steer clear of wild animals after a truck driver who was bit by a rabid skunk was forced to undergo lifesaving treatment for rabies.
CBC News

The man turned himself into health authorities Friday morning, four days after he was bit by a dying skunk he found lying on the road in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, on the West Island.

He found the skunk while driving through the area on Monday. He stopped his truck, and with Good Samaritan intentions, tried to move the animal off the road. In the process, the skunk bit him, and the driver fled the scene, said doctor Terry Tannenbaum, from the Montreal Department of Public Health.

A cyclist who had noticed the skunk earlier Monday reported to offficials that the animal was acting strangely. Authorities picked up the skunk, which tested positive for rabies. That set officials on a manhunt for the driver, whose life was potentially endangered by his encounter with the animal, Tannenbaum said.

"Our concern was that this driver had had contact that would have been significant enough to require treatment to prevent rabies," Tannenbaum explained.

Rabies is fatal if untreated. The virus, which is transmitted through saliva, attacks the nervous system and brain, and causes abnormal behaviour and eventual paralysis, leading to death. Once an animal or person starts to show symptoms, death is often inevitable.

Fortunately, the driver called health authorities on Friday and was promptly treated with an antirabies vaccine.

Authorities believe the skunk was infected by a rabid bat and is the first reported case of rabies in a ground-dwelling animal on the island of Montreal in decades, Tannenbaum said.

People should stay away from any animal, domestic or wild, that exhibits unusual behaviour, and report it to public health authorities, she added.

The most recent death by rabies in Quebec was in 2000. A nine-year old boy from Montreal was infected by a rabid bat, and died a month later.

September 30th, 2006, 02:56 PM
Scary, I'm always worried about rabies, I was just thinking about asking the city about the wildlife rabies prevention program, I have racoons on my roof, I don't mind them, but want to know that they can't pass around rabies.

Does Montreal have a program like that? they put out food for the raccoons and skunks that have doses of rabies vaccinations.

September 30th, 2006, 02:57 PM
I doubt it. I think they were doing something for the racoons just south of Montreal because rabies was spreading there but that's all I've heard.:shrug:

September 30th, 2006, 03:33 PM
Last summer alot of racoons in my area were dying because of distemper.

The environmentalists blamed it on dog owners, who didn't pick up after their dogs. Since then, we have "doggy patrol police" in my area, who gives out tickets and warnings to people who don't pick up after their dogs or don't have proper license.

September 30th, 2006, 03:36 PM
:rolleyes: Always blame the dog owners eh? Where do the dogs get the distemper?;)