Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.B. Children Treated after Possible Exposure to Rabies; Risk Thought to Be Low

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.B. Children Treated after Possible Exposure to Rabies; Risk Thought to Be Low

Article excerpt

N.B. children treated for rabies exposure

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TORONTO - Two children in southern New Brunswick are receiving preventative treatment for rabies after their family's dogs had contact with a rabid raccoon, the province's chief medical officer of health said Friday.

The children are reported to have shared Popsicles with the dogs after the dogs spent some time chasing the raccoon around the backyard of the family home in St. Stephen, a southwestern New Brunswick town on the border with Maine.

Dr. Eilish Cleary would not confirm that the children had shared Popsicles with the dogs, saying she didn't know that level of detail about the case and probably wouldn't have shared it if she did. But she said it was felt there was some risk -- albeit small -- that the children might have been exposed to the highly lethal virus, so the decision was made to vaccinate them.

"The risk would have been low.... (But) because we know that the raccoon was rabid, it was definitely worth vaccinating," Cleary said in an interview from Fredericton.

The unidentified family arrived home on the evening of May 29 to find their two dogs racing around in the backyard, circling what turned out to be a raccoon, which was behaving oddly.

A report of the event posted on the website healthywildlife.ca -- and later picked up and circulated by ProMed, an online disease monitoring system -- said the animal was killed and buried. While full details on when and why were not immediately available, the raccoon was later dug up and its brain extracted by the New Brunswick Provincial Veterinary Laboratory.

The provincial lab sent the brain to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's rabies laboratory in Ottawa. Testing there confirmed on June 2 that the raccoon had rabies.

The website report, which cites information provided by Dr. Jim Goltz of the provincial veterinary laboratory, says that was not known if the dogs had made contact with the raccoon. But if they had been bitten or scratched, the dogs would likely have licked their wounds. …

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