Rabies is a fatal yet preventable viral disease that affects the nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. The virus, which is found in the saliva of infected animals, can be transmitted three ways:

  • bites that break the skin
  • saliva entering an open wound
  • saliva entering the mouth, nose or eyes

Rabies can be transmitted by domestic animals such as pets or livestock, or wild animals. In North America, rabies is most often transmitted by bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons.

Toronto Public Health (TPH) works with health care providers to reduce the risk of rabies in humans by investigating animal exposures (e.g., animal bites or scratches, or contamination of the mouth, nose, eyes or open wounds with animal saliva). TPH also works with Toronto Animal Services, neighbouring health units, and various provincial agencies to reduce the risk of rabies in Toronto.

Further information for health care providers can be found onĀ TPH’s Health Professionals web page.

Rabies in Animals

Information on the signs and symptoms of rabies in animals, as well as the prevalence of rabies in Ontario and globally.

Rabies Prevention

Information on the prevention of rabies in animals and humans.

Animal Bites, Scratches or Other Exposures

What to do if you are bitten or scratched by an animal.