A fox-and-dog encounter in Baker Lake has led the Government of Nunavut to issue a public health advisory for signs of rabies.
“The significant number of fox sightings in Nunavut has greatly increased the risk of exposure to rabies,” stated the GN in a news release Dec. 30. “Due to the danger of rabies, we advise all residents to be on the lookout for foxes in the area.”
The fox in Baker Lake was destroyed after being in contact with a domestic dog, which was immediately isolated and is being monitored for rabies. The fox is being tested for rabies as well.
“If you have been bitten or scratched by a fox or a dog, go to the health centre and report the incident immediately,” stated the GN. “Treatment must be started quickly after exposure, as rabies infections (are) almost always fatal.”
The government also issued an advisory for a similar incident in Arctic Bay, where a fox had been dispalying aggressive behaviour and had an encounter with a sled dog. All sled dogs on the team were being monitored for any symptoms of rabies.
Domestic animals that spend a lot of time tied up outdoors should also be monitored for changes in behaviour and other signs of rabies, which include staggering, frothing at the mouth, choking and making strange noises.
Animals exhibiting these signs should be avoided and reported to the regional environmental health office or conservation officer.
Anyone who sees a fox or wolf wandering around the community, or if a dog has been on contact with a fox or wolf, should call the regional environmental health officer at 867-645-6660 or conservation officer at 867-793-2944 or 867-793-1692.