What is rabies

Rabies is caused by a virus that can infect any mammal, including humans. Birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish do not get rabies. In infected mammals, the virus is found in saliva and can be spread through three main ways:

  • bites that break the skin
  • getting infected saliva in an open cut, sore, or other wound
  • getting infected saliva in the mouth, nose, or eyes

The animals that most often transmit rabies in Ontario are bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons. Once signs of rabies appear, in any animal, the disease is virtually always fatal. A series of vaccinations and treatment with rabies antibodies can prevent infection in humans in most cases if administered soon after exposure.

Wildlife vaccine baits

Learn how Ontario controls rabies in wildlife by dropping baits that contain vaccine in urban, forested, and rural agricultural areas.

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Wildlife rabies outbreak and control operations

Learn about wildlife rabies outbreaks, how we control outbreaks and where rabies control operations will take place in 2022.

Rabies in humans

How people can contract the rabies virus, what to do if you’re exposed to the virus and what you should know about the rabies vaccine.

Rabies in wildlife

Information about rabies in wildlife and what to do if you think an animal has rabies.

Rabies cases

Read details and maps of confirmed cases of rabies in Ontario from 1958 until today.

Rabies in pets

How pets get rabies, what do to if your pet is exposed and what you need to know about the rabies vaccine and travelling to the United States with your pet.

Rabies in livestock

How livestock can get rabies, how to protect them from it and what to do if an animal is exposed to or suspected of having rabies.

Rabies management in Ontario

Rabies response and prevention in Ontario is a joint effort involving:

  • the public
  • public Health
  • veterinarians
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

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