Characterizing rabies epidemiology in remote Inuit communities in Québec, Canada: a "One Health" approach

Ecohealth. 2014 Sep;11(3):343-55. doi: 10.1007/s10393-014-0923-1. Epub 2014 Mar 19.


Rabies is endemic throughout arctic areas including the region of Nunavik, situated north of the 55th parallel of Québec, Canada, and raises public health concerns. The aim of this paper is to provide a descriptive overview of the temporal and regional distributions of three important components of arctic rabies in Nunavik from 1999 to 2012, following a "One Health" approach: animal rabies tests and confirmed cases, dog vaccination, and human consultations for potential rabies exposures. Forty-four cases of rabies, involving mainly arctic and red foxes, were confirmed in animals during this period. The mean number of dogs vaccinated per 1,000 inhabitants was highly variable and lower in the Hudson region than the Ungava region. 112 consultations for potential rabies exposure were analyzed, of which 24 were exposure to a laboratory confirmed rabid animal. Children less than 10 years of age were the age group most commonly exposed. The median time between potential exposure and administration of the first post-exposure prophylaxis dose was four days. This study confirms that the risk of human exposure to rabid animals in Nunavik is present and underlines the need to follow a "One Health" approach to prevent rabies in humans in similar contexts worldwide.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arctic Regions / epidemiology
  • Bites and Stings / virology*
  • Dogs
  • Foxes
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Inuits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Microbiological Techniques
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Rabies / epidemiology*
  • Rabies / prevention & control
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wolves