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Toronto reports 1st case of human rabies since 1931

Toronto Public Health has confirmed that a person in the city is being treated for rabies.

It is the first case of human rabies in Toronto since 1931 and the first in the province since 1967.

A spokesperson for Toronto Public Health says the department cannot release information about the person, for confidentiality reasons.

But Jennifer Veenboer says it’s currently not known how the person became infected.

The person was recently out of the country, but at this point public health can’t rule out the possibility the infection took place in Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing samples from the person to try to identify the strain of rabies, which could indicate which animal the infection came from and where transmission took place.

Veenboer says Toronto Public Health is working with the hospital in which the person is being treated to identify anyone who may have had contact with the patient’s saliva.

Those people will need to be assessed to see if they need to be given rabies shots as a preventative measure.

The last recorded case of animal rabies in Toronto was in 2008, in a puppy.

Human rabies cases in Canada are very rare. There have only been three in the last 12 years: one in Quebec in 2000, one in British Columbia in 2003 and one in Alberta in 2007.