Trent Press Release

Released by the Ministry of Natural Resources

November 25, 2002

Ministry of Natural Resources and Science Partners Receive Rabies Research Grant

TORONTO - The Ministry of Natural Resources is part of an international collaboration of governments, universities and businesses that has been awarded a prestigious raccoon rabies research grant, Natural Resources Minister Jerry Ouellette announced today.

The four-year, $815,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada is a coveted prize throughout the nation's scientific community. The money will fund a project, led by Dr. Bradley White of Trent University, to study the way raccoons migrate and the way the raccoon rabies virus spreads. The research will use genetics and DNA to show where the infected animal and its virus came from, and will result in improved control of raccoon rabies both in Ontario and abroad.

"We are very excited to be recognized and receive this grant as part of this collaborative partnership," said Ouellette. "This is a great opportunity to improve our efforts to control and eradicate this disease in Ontario."

Three people from the ministry are participating in the study, including senior rabies research scientist Rick Rosatte.

Raccoon rabies was first found in eastern Ontario in 1999 and there have been 105 confirmed cases since. In the first three years after the disease appeared in New York state, more than 3,000 cases were reported. The low number of cases in Ontario is a result of the ministry's proactive program to control raccoon rabies. The control program continues to be effective, with a 75-per-cent reduction in cases compared with 2001.

The Ministry of Natural Resources continues to work with local Health Units, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the public and municipalities to increase public awareness of rabies.

For more information, visit the ministry's Web site for the Rabies Research and Development Unit


Gord Prisco
Minister's Office
(416) 314-2212

Adam McAllister
Ministry of Natural Resources
(705) 755-1551

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