Quebec’s Environment Ministry is warning certain municipalities in the Eastern Townships and Monteregie against rabies-infected raccoons and "announces the expansion of the enhanced surveillance zone."

A raccoon infected with rabies was discovered in the municipality of Eustis, in northwestern Maine, about 23 kilometres from the Canadian border.

The Ministry of the Environment is asking the population of 18 municipalities “to be vigilant and report all wild animals suspected of having rabies.”

The following municipalities have been added to the enhanced raccoon rabies surveillance zone, which extends into the Eastern Townships and Montérégie:

  • Audet
  • Bury
  • Chartierville
  • Frontenac
  • Hampden
  • La Patrie
  • Lac-Drolet
  • Lac-Mégantic
  • Marston
  • Nantes
  • Newport
  • Notre-Dame-des-Bois
  • Piopolis
  • Saint-Augustin-de-Woburn
  • Saint-Robert-Bellarmin
  • Sainte-Cécile-de-Whitton
  • Saint-Ludger
  • Val-Racine

The ministry stressed that reporting an animal is the best way to identify wild animals with rabies and prevent the spread of the disease.

If you've been bitten or scratched by an animal or come into contact with its saliva, wash the wound with soap and water for 10 to 15 minutes, even if it appears to be minor.

“Promptly contact Info-Santé 811 to obtain the appropriate medical follow-up,” said the Environment Ministry in a press release.

People should also avoid approaching an unknown animal, wild or domestic, even if it seems harmless, and avoid attracting wild animals to their property by, for example, leaving garbage cans within reach.

Also, avoid touching the carcass of a dead animal or moving unwelcome animals to other areas.

“If you see a raccoon, skunk or fox that is dead or appears disoriented, injured, abnormally aggressive or paralyzed, call 1-877-346-6763 to report it, or fill in the online form," reads the ministry's press release.

Rabies is a contagious and fatal disease. Since the discovery of the first case of raccoon rabies in Monteregie in 2006, the Quebec government has implemented a control plan to eliminate it from the territory.

The ministry said it has done so – there have been no cases detected in Quebec since 2016.

The government hopes to prevent the reintroduction of this disease to the province.


- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 25, 2023