Toronto police and the city’s animal services department say multiple raccoons have been rounded up by officers, amid what they believe is a viral outbreak among animals that could be carrying a rabies-like infection.
Acc. to Police the latest incident, in the city’s Scarborough area, saw a man being chased down by a raccoon on the street Sunday morning.
Early reports by police suggested the man was bitten, but Toronto Animal Services said Sunday evening the raccoon only made contact with the man’s shoe.That raccoon and several others that have been seen acting erratically in the past few days have been taken for testing by animal services officials.
The Scarborough man told officers he believed the raccoon might have rabies, but Toronto Animal Services say it’s more likely the animal had distemper, which can cause similar symptoms.
Nicola Ware, a spokesperson for Toronto Animal Services said, “It’s a virus found within the raccoon population and is highly contagious.Deceased raccoons are routinely sent for testing. And to date, no raccoon from the Toronto area has tested positive for rabies.”
While there haven’t been any cases of rabies in Toronto, the Hamilton area has seen a steady increase in rabies cases among various animals in the past three years.
Toronto police are still warning residents to be careful around the animals.
Linda Jacobson, a veterinarian at the Toronto Humane Society advised that in the event of a bite, Jacobson said you should immediately call your local public health unit, which would then explain the best course of action.