Rabies and Chronic Wasting Disease Program Adjustments

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) remains committed to its role in animal disease control in Canada and will continue to play a leadership role both nationally and internationally. The CFIA is in discussion with partners, such as provincial and territorial governments, industry and private veterinarians, to determine their level of involvement as these programs are adjusted.

Rabies

The CFIA is a world leader in the science of rabies. The CFIA is adjusting some of its activities related to the rabies program. The CFIA is in discussion with provincial health, provincial agriculture and natural resources ministries, as well as the veterinary community, to assist these parties in the development of protocols for collecting and submitting rabies samples and for responding to suspected rabies cases.

Changes are targeted to take place April 2014.

Rabies will remain a federally reportable disease in Canada. This means that animal owners, veterinary practitioners and laboratories will still be required to report suspected rabies cases to the CFIA. In addition, the CFIA will continue to:

  • Perform and cover the costs related to tests on human samples;
  • Perform and cover the costs related to tests on samples from rabies-suspect animals that may have exposed domestic animals and/or humans to the virus (minimum Category II exposure, as defined by the World Health Organization);
  • Perform tests on samples that do not meet the above criteria, if covered by a formal agreement by the CFIA that includes a cost-recovery mechanism;
  • Provide expertise in its capacity as a World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) Reference Laboratory for rabies (diagnostics, research and science advice);
  • License rabies vaccines;
  • Provide public information on rabies occurrences in Canada;
  • Administer rabies import controls and export certification; and
  • Fulfill international reporting obligations with respect to rabies.

Read more about rabies.

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is endemic in wildlife in certain parts of Canada. Following a review of current scientific knowledge and currently achievable diagnostic and control tools, the CFIA has concluded that eradication is no longer possible.

The CFIA is changing the goal of its CWD program from eradicating the disease to preventing it from spreading to new geographic areas and into new species.

To determine how to best manage the disease in future, the CFIA has already begun the collaborative process of stakeholder consultation with industry and the provinces in areas that are most affected by CWD. Public stakeholder consultations will continue to establish the best way forward.

Read more about chronic wasting disease.

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