Second skunk tested positive for rabies this year

Second skunk tested positive for rabies this year

Rabies can infect any wild animal, including foxes, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and bats.  Bats and skunks are the two main sources of rabies in Colorado.  It is important to note that not all skunks have rabies.  If a skunk is acting strangely, however, such as lying on the ground, out during daylight hours, exhibiting loss of motor skills, or acting aggressively, it may be sick. There have been no human deaths related to rabies exposure in Weld County. To prevent exposure to rabies, the health department recommends:

Public health officials are asking anyone who might have touched or handled the skunk, or if a pet had physical contact with the skunk, to contact the health department at (970) 400-2290. The county health department release on the April case said an altercation between two dogs and the skunk resulted in a veterinary visit and consultation with the county. The skunk was submitted to the Colorado State University laboratory for testing and the positive result was received on Friday (April 30), according to the county.

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that affects the nervous system. It is nearly 100% fatal if left untreated, the health department wrote in the news release. Rabies transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch, or wound.  If a person suspects they have been exposed to rabies, they should contact their medical provider immediately. Effective vaccination treatment is available to prevent rabies if started before symptoms appear. A spokesman for the health department said the county identified the first case of rabies in a skunk on Jan. 15 near LaSalle. In 2020, the county reported eight cases of rabies in six bats and two skunks.

To contact the health department after regular business hours, outside of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call Weld County Dispatch at (970) 350-9600 and select option 4. Source Over the past several years, a variety of animal-to-human contacts has resulted in several dozen Weld County residents requiring rabies immune globulin for post-exposure treatment.

Health officials stress that all domestic animals such as cats, dogs, horses, and livestock should be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Do not feed, touch, or handle any wild animals.
Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian.
Spay or neuter pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in the neighborhood.

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