Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 13, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Watch out for foxes in Nunavut communities, GN warns

More animals have been sent out for rabies testing

SARAH ROGERS
Health officials say there has been a significant increase in fox sightings around Nunavut this season. (FILE PHOTO)
Health officials say there has been a significant increase in fox sightings around Nunavut this season. (FILE PHOTO)

The Government of Nunavut’s Health Department is warning residents to be on the lookout for foxes near communities.

In a Nov. 10 release, health officials say there’s been a significant increase in fox sightings around Nunavut this season.

It’s not clear if the population has actually grown or if the foxes are just drawn to communities more than usual.

The main concern is an increased risk of foxes transmitting rabies to dogs and people.

Just last week, the GN sent a fox captured near the Meliadine mine site near Rankin Inlet out for testing, after a number of animals were spotted in the region.

The Health Department said the test came back negative, though more foxes have since been sent for testing.

The sightings aren’t limited to the Kivalliq; the increase appears to be territory-wide.

If Nunavummiut or their pets have had any contact with a fox, the GN encourages them to go to their local health centre—especially if the contact was in the form of a bite or a scratch.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, causing a disease in the brain which can be fatal.

Early symptoms of the virus include fever, headache and general weakness. If rabies progresses untreated, it can cause insomnia, anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, hallucinations, an increase in saliva and difficulty swallowing.

To avoid illness, it’s crucial to be treated for the virus as soon as possible.

Nunavummiut can report fox sightings to regional conservation or environmental health officer at the following numbers:

• In the Baffin region at 867-975-4817 or 867-975-4815.

• In the Kivalliq region at 867-645-8071.

• In the Kitikmeot region at 867-983-4009 or 867-983-5259.

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