Above: In North America, bats are the main vector for the transmission of rabies to humans (Ivan Kuzmin, iStockphoto)
Do you live in close contact with animals, including pets, livestock, and wildlife? If yes, you’re at risk of catching zoonotic diseases. Those are infectious diseases transferred from animals to humans. In Canada, there has been a recent increase in cases of rabies, a well-known zoonotic disease.
Can humans infect pets or other animals with diseases?
Rabies is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Because of its harmful effect on the brain, rabies infection often causes abnormal behaviour. Common symptoms of rabies include erratic behaviour, hydrophobia (fear of water), and frothing at the mouth.
How is rabies transmitted? How do vaccines control rabies infections?
Before French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur developed the rabies vaccine in 1885, a rabies infection was almost always fatal.
Why are people in North America most likely to get rabies from a bat? In many other countries, they’re more likely to get rabies from a dog.
In Canada and the United States, bats are the main vectors of rabies transmission to humans. However, other animals can also transmit the disease, and others like it. In North America, rabies infections are most commonly found in foxes, raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and bats. Most rabies outbreaks in Canada are in southern Ontario.
What factors affect the distribution and detection of rabies? Can outbreaks of rabies be predicted and prevented?
About rabies and other zoonotic diseases:
About recent rabies outbreaks in Canada:
About scientific research on rabies: