You don’t hear about rabies very often, but cases continue to show up across the country. Each year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency compiles data on the confirmed cases. For 2010, most of the cases were in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Ontario had 10 skunks and 29 bats confirmed with rabies. Manitoba had three cats, one cow, one horse, 33 skunks and two bats. In Saskatchewan, rabies was found in three dogs, 17 skunks and one bat. Alberta had a low incidence with only one cat and two bats with the disease. Across the country 49 per cent of the cases involved skunks, while 39 per cent involved bats. Looking through the stats for previous years, it’s normal for the majority of the cases to be skunks and bats, although foxes and raccoons sometimes show significant numbers. A human death from rabies in Canada has occurred in each of 2000, 2003 and 2007. Rabies isn’t a major worry in the big scheme of things, but the stats certainly confirm the view that skunks and bats are big carriers of the disease. Bat bites are believed to have caused the deaths in ’03 and ’07.

I’m Kevin Hursh.

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