Rabies

As of April 1, 2014 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is no longer involved with managing rabies cases in Manitoba. The provincial Rabies Management Program is now coordinated by Manitoba Rabies Central, which is a collaborative effort involving the Manitoba departments of Health, Healthy Living & Seniors (MHHLS), Agriculture, and Sustainable Development.

Rabies is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Act, The Public Health Act and The Animal Diseases Act. All suspect cases in animals and humans must be reported. Surveillance data (the number of samples submitted, number of positive cases and location in the province) is then reported.

Rabies is a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain. It is a zoonotic disease that primarily occurs in animals but can be transmitted to humans. Rabies is transmitted through a cut, scratch or bite from an infected animal or by contamination with infectious material, usually saliva. The disease attacks the central nervous system and, if left untreated, is always fatal.

In Manitoba, rabies is primarily found in skunks, although any mammal can be infected. Birds, reptiles and amphibians are not susceptible to rabies.

The time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms can range from about a week to several months.

Symptoms may include:
  • fever
  • pain
  • tingling, pricking or burning sensation at the wound site
  • hyperactivity
  • excited behaviour
  • frothing at the mouth
  • attack objects or other animals
  • muscle paralysis
  • respiratory distress
  • coma
  • death*

*Do not handle dead animals without using gloves.


What to do if you Suspect Rabies

Rabies is a reportable disease in Manitoba, so producers should contact their veterinarian immediately if animals are showing any signs of illness or have been exposed to a potentially rabid animal.

  • To report human exposure to an animal suspected of having rabies, or for general information, please contact Health Links - Info Santé in Winnipeg at 204-788-8200 or toll free at 1-888-315-9257.
  • To report domestic animal exposure to an animal suspected of having rabies (no human exposure), please contact the Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) or call 204-470-1108.

Additional Resources