HEALTH ALERT: Skunk tests positive for rabies in Pueblo

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - Health officials in Pueblo are warning the public to avoid all wild animals after a skunk tested positive for rabies. The animal was found in the area of City Park.

“It is unusual for animals to test positive for rabies this late in the year. However, rabies has been found in wild skunks, bats, and other animals throughout Pueblo County.” stated Jody Carrillo, Environmental Health and Emergency Preparedness division director of the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. Carrillo added, “Wild animals, including skunks are to be left alone and not touched.”

If you or a pet comes in contact with a skunk you need to contact Pueblo Animal Services at 719-544-3005 and press 0 or the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment at 583-4307.

Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Rabies also can be transmitted if the animal’s saliva gets into a cut or break in the skin. “People can be exposed to rabies when they assist, feed, handle or come in contact with wild animals,” Jody Carrillo further explained.

Here are some tips from the Pueblo County Health Department to avoid exposure:

-Never touch a skunk or any other wild animal. Healthy skunks, raccoons and nocturnal animals typically come out in the evening. If the animals are acting tame, especially in the day, they may be sick. Children who find wild animals should leave them where they are, do not touch the wild animal, and tell an adult.

·Do not pick up a skunk with your hands, even if you’re wearing gloves. Use a shovel to place it in a bucket or coffee can if the animal must be moved prior to calling Pueblo Animal Services.

·If you are bitten by a skunk or other wild animal, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water then contact both your physician and the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

·Keep your doors and windows covered with intact screens. Do not leave doors or windows, without screens, open in the evening.

·Keep your dogs on a leash when walking them.

·Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies. Keep in mind vaccines not administered by a licensed veterinarian are not considered valid vaccinations in the State of Colorado, including Pueblo County.