Environmental Health

Rabies Prevention

Rabies infection in humans almost always results in death. It is an infection of the brain caused by a virus usually spread through the saliva of infected animals. Worldwide more than 50,000 people die each year. The infection is spread to humans mainly through dog bites. Rabies is 100% preventable. There have been no human rabies cases reported in the NWT.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal in the NWT, contact your local health centre or health practitioner right away and they will report it to the Environmental Health Unit for investigation.

Environmental Health Officers investigate any reports of contact between animals and humans that might possibly lead to a rabies infection. Animals that have bitten or scratched someone must be isolated and observed for 10 days to ensure that rabies could not have been transmitted to the victim at the time of the contact. Contact means a bite, scratch or licking of broken skin or moist tissue (eyes, mouth, etc.).

If you own a cat or dog, you can help prevent rabies infection by vaccinating your pets. Not only are you protecting yourself and your family, you are reducing the risk of your pet transmitting rabies to people. The vaccine will also protect your pet from getting rabies if it is exposed to wild animals.

To learn about rabies, visit the Government of Canada website: