Five rabid skunks were found in El Paso County in April, the county health department reported Thursday. Seven rabies-infected animals have now been found in El Paso County since the start of the year.
El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) says that the locations where the skunks have been found indicates that rabies has been detected in both urban and rural areas of the county, and advises those living in towns and cities to be vigilant when it comes to rabies prevention.
According to EPCPH, the foremost way to prevent rabies is to make sure pets and livestock are vaccinated against it.
“Unvaccinated pets or livestock are likely to get infected with rabies from these exposures, and that means the owner or family members are at risk,” Kandi Buckland, executive director of EPCPH, said.
In addition to ensuring pets and livestock are vaccinated, EPCPH offers additional prevention tips.
• Don’t feed wild animals, and don’t leave pet food outside where it could attract wild animals.
• Don’t allow children or pets around wild animals.
• Contact your veterinarian if your pet is scratched or bitten by a wild animal.
• Contact your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region if you or a family member are bitten by an animal—even a unfamiliar domesticated animal such as a neighbor’s dog.
• Remove carcasses of dead animals with shovels, never your bare hands. Double-bag it in the trash.
• Report any abnormal or aggressive behavior by an animal to the Division of Wildlife.
• Bat-proof your home
Rabies is generally spread through bites by rabid animals or saliva from a rabid animal getting into an open cut or wound. Once rabies symptoms appear, the disease is usually fatal. The EPCPH reminds county residents that prevention is key in protecting yourself and your family.