The Quebec Ministry of Environment (MELCCFP) is warning residents south of Montreal to report any animal suspected of having rabies, particularly raccoons.

The ministry cites the recent rise in raccoon rabies numbers south of the border in the U.S. as a cause to be extra vigilant when interacting with the nocturnal regulars around garbage cans and camp sites.

"To reduce the risk of this disease returning to Quebec, the ministry is carefully monitoring the situation and working closely with American authorities, who have deployed broad-based action to limit the extent of the outbreak," the ministry said in a news release.

Quebec is calling for vigilance in 18 communities seen on the map below.

Note: This map has been updated to include 18 more municipalities in the Eastern Townships

The following municipalities are on alert: Bedford, Clarenceville, Dunham, Frelighsburg, Henryville, Lacolle, Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, Noyan, Pike River, Saint-Armand, Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Saint-Ignace-de-Stanbridge, Saint-Paul-de-l'Île-aux-Noix, Saint-Sébastien, Saint-Valentin, Stanbridge East, Stanbridge Station and Venise-en-Québec.

Those who see a dead, disoriented, injured or abnormally aggressive or paralyzed raccoon, skunk or fox are asked to call 1-877-346-6763 or complete an online form on the ministry's site.

Do not touch a dead animal under any circumstances, the ministry warns. Those who are bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wound with soap immediately for a full 10 minutes and call 811 as a follow-up.

The following is a list of rules to avoid attracting or coming into contact with wild animals such as raccoons:

  • Don't approach unknown wild or domestic animals, even friendly-looking ones.
  • Store outdoor garbage cans and containers out of reach of animals.
  • Feed pets indoors.
  • See a vet and get your pet vaccinated against rabies.