NORTHWEST TERRITORIES (February 24, 2023) – The Chief Environmental Health Officer is advising that a dog from Fort Good Hope has tested positive for rabies. The dog had contact with a wild fox.
Residents of Fort Good Hope should contact the Cassien Edgi Health Centre and report any bites or scratches or contact any wild animals or dogs immediately. The health staff will assess your exposure and ensure proper follow-up can be completed.
Rabies in humans is fatal without urgent treatment.
Animals with rabies can have different signs and symptoms. They may be fearful, aggressive, stagger/walk backwards, barking abnormally, low energy, exhibiting paralysis, and/or experiencing seizures. They can also show excess drooling and difficulty swallowing. Aggressive behavior is also possible, but rabid animals may also often be very shy or calm, and act or move strangely.
If you see a dog showing signs of rabies or if your dog has been attacked by a wild animal, DO NOT touch the animal. Report the animal incident to the Environment and Natural Resources’ office in your community or region immediately.
If you are bitten or scratched by any unfamiliar animal, call or visit your local health unit immediately. If you have been exposed to rabies, it is crucial that you seek medical attention so that preventative treatment for rabies is started as soon as possible.
Getting your dogs vaccinated for rabies is an important way to reduce the risk for you and your community. If you are a hunter, dog musher or otherwise regularly handle wildlife and animals, please ensure that your own rabies vaccination is up to date. To do so, please contact your health centre.
Other things you can do to prevent rabies infection:
- Keep your dogs indoors at night, if possible.
- Do not go near unfamiliar animals (including someone else’s pet or a stray dog).
- Do not pick up, pet, feed, or handle any wild animals, especially foxes.
- Teach your children to stay away from wild or stray animals and avoid feeding or handling wildlife.
- Do not touch dead or sick animals and report your observations to your local ENR office.
- Avoid leaving garbage or other wildlife attractants outside or accessible to wildlife in your community.
For general information about rabies please visit Rabies Prevention.
For more information contact:
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories