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Toronto sees uptick in raccoon bites during the pandemic

Tuesday, March 2nd 2021, 12:49 pm - Working from home may lead to more interactions with raccoons, says Toronto Public Health.

City officials are warning residents to avoid contact with raccoons after an uptick in reported raccoon-related injuries.

Between January 2020 and February 2021, Toronto Public Health saw a 62 per cent increase in reports of people bitten or scratched by raccoons compared to the two-year average between the years 2018 and 2019.

Toronto Animal Services also received more service requests for sick and injured raccoons, the city said in a news release. In 2020, there were 13,712 requests compared to 4,172 requests in 2019.

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"This may be because residents are home more than usual or spending more time exercising outside in their neighbourhoods, thus encountering more raccoons in the city," Toronto Public Health said in a release.

Rabies is very rare but can be fatal if it is left untreated. Toronto Public Health said that residents should not pet or feed wild raccoons, and that anyone who has been bitten, scratched or exposed to a wild raccoon should see a health provider immediately to be assessed.

There have been no reports of wild animals with rabies in Toronto since 1997.

This article was written for the CBC. Thumbnail image submitted to The Weather Network by Helmer Neilsen.

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