This is a colourized transmission electron micrograph of culture cells heavily infected with the rabies virus. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/NIAID)

Foxes test positive for rabies in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet

Nunavut Health Department advises people in these communities to be on alert for animals acting strangely

By Nunatsiaq News

A fox in Iqaluit and a fox in Rankin Inlet that were suspected of having rabies have both tested positive.

The Department of Health made the announcement Wednesday in a news release.

The fox in Iqaluit was suspected of being infected with rabies on April 4. The fox in Rankin Inlet was sent for testing after attacking two domestic dogs on April 30.

Due to the danger of rabies, the Department of Health advises all residents to be on the lookout for foxes in these communities, department spokesperson Danarae Sommerville said.

Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a fox or a dog should go to their local hospital or health centre immediately to report the incident. Treatment must be started quickly after exposure, as rabies infections are almost always fatal, Sommerville said.

The department asks people with domestic dogs that spend time outdoors to monitor their animals for changes in behaviour such as behaving strangely, staggering, frothing at the mouth, choking or making strange noises.

Wild animals infected with rabies may also appear friendly and approach humans without fear.

Animals exhibiting these signs should be avoided and reported to the regional environmental health office at 867-222-0163 or 867-975-4185.

Sightings of foxes or wolves wandering close to communities should be reported to the local conservation office.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Taxpayer on

    During the March 2023 Fur Auction sale in North Bay, only a meager 333 white foxes were sold. The average price for white fox was an very respectable $80.28, and the highest priced pelt went for $224.40.

    Good money and a far cry from the $10 a pelt seen years ago when trapping was taking its big hits.

    Rabies tends to be more of a problem when fox populations are high. Indeed, foxes have recently peaked or are peaking in their population cycle.

    One of the surest ways to reduce rabies is to harvest foxes because there are less foxes around to transmit the disease among themselves.

    The news should be seen as a good opportunity for harvesters to make some decent income and practice active wildlife management.

    The harvesting of white fox is now very low compared to past history, and this may be contributing to more disease.

    • Posted by Red Fox on

      The red fox seems to be out numbering Arctic foxes.
      With regard to rabies, maybe all the stray dogs can be rounded up and quarantined?

    • Posted by fox trapper on

      Actually foxes go in cycles depending on their food sources, especially lemmings which also cycle every four years or so. In the Kivalliq region, foxes were are their peak 2 winters ago and many had rabies then and died. Last winter we had much less foxes but rabies is always present in the fox populations. A rabid fox will be attracted to noise and movement so they head into communities. With the mining industry present in our area, and the older trapper generation slowing down we have less trappers. Wolf hunting was much more lucrative this past winter and spring so people concentrated on hunting those animals instead. Not many people send their furs to the fur auction anymore as they need to be fleshed and dried. People have less time for that now so they sell their furs frozen to tanneries and taxidermists.

  2. Posted by Hunter on

    I f the GN had a bounty on the foxes right from the beginning of suspecting any sign of rabies we would not be in this situation.

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