The Otero County Health Department confirms with 11 News that several skunks have been positively tested for rabies.
A letter was sent out to 4200 households in La Junta on April 6 to let residents know about the epidemic. It says that on March 8, a skunk carcass was submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for rabies testing. The next day, the results returned positive for rabies. The skunk was found in the vicinity of 14th Street and Park Avenue in La Junta. About a week later, another skunk was submitted for testing and those results were positive. The second skunk was found in the vicinity of 10th Street and San Juan Avenue in La Junta.
Otero County health officials expect to see more rabies-positive skunks in the next few weeks.
Rabies is a serious, preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
Richard Ritter, Executive Director of the Otero County Health Department urges pet owners to have their pets and livestock vaccinated against rabies. He says no one should take a chance with this deadly viral infection.