Reporting Animal Bites and Risk of Rabies

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Reporting Animal Bites and Risk of Rabies


Rabies is a fatal viral zoonosis with the potential to be a serious public health problem. Skunks, bats and other wild animals continue to be a reservoir for this disease in Saskatchewan. The incidence of rabies in Saskatchewan and Canada between 2014 and 2017 is as follows:

  • In Canada a total of 874 cases of confirmed animal rabies were reported, and bats accounted for 26.4% of the total cases, and skunks for 25.6%. Dogs and cats accounted for 3.8% of animal rabies cases.
  • In Saskatchewan, skunks were the most affected at 54.8% and bats following with 33.7%.
  • In 2000, 2003 and 2007, three people in Canada died of rabies infections from bat exposures - one in Quebec (2000), one in British Columbia (2003) and one in Alberta (2007). These were the first cases of human rabies in Canada since 1985.

As outlined under section 25 of The Disease Control Regulations, all physicians and nursing staff have a responsibility to immediately report all animal bites to Population and Public Health Services for follow up investigation.

This information is required so that each animal bite incident can be properly assessed for the risk of rabies. The end result of a person bitten by a rabid animal and left untreated is almost always fatal.

I have enclosed the Animal Encounter Report - Rabies Investigation Form. This form need to be completed each time a patient presents with a potential rabies exposure (e.g. bite, scratch, saliva exposure into a wound or onto a mucous membrane). Please make extra copies for your office as required.

Completed Animal Encounter Report - Rabies Investigation forms must be faxed to (306) 766-7730, as soon as possible. Use of other animal bite report forms should be discontinued and replaced with the current form.

Your continued cooperation in this matter is appreciated. If you have any questions please call (306) 766-7759.

Submitted by: Dr. Maurice Hennink, Deputy Medical Health Officer