Thu Nov 9th, 2017
Three rabid animals (skunks) have tested positive for rabies in Durango. San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) urges residents to stay away from stray and wild animals, check pets’ vaccination status, and take other precautions to avoid rabies.
Rabies is regularly found in Colorado wildlife, especially skunks and bats. Interaction between humans and wild animals, particularly bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons, increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and people. If you see wildlife that is acting unusual, call SJBPH at 970-247-5702 or La Plata County Animal Protection at 970-385-2900 immediately.
It is also crucial to make sure all dogs and cats are vaccinated. The vaccine can prevent companion animals from getting rabies from wildlife and possibly exposing your whole family to the disease.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 150 animals have been found carrying rabies in the state so far, this year, of which 79 were skunks. The numbers represent only animals that were tested after they were witnessed exhibiting abnormal behaviors or had encounters with people, pets or livestock. There are many more rabid animals in the Colorado outdoors that never get tested.
Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals. It is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms appear. People who have been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal should contact their health care provider immediately to reduce the risk of rabies.
To avoid rabies
To recognize sick wildlife
San Juan Basin Public Health is a local public health agency, governed by a seven member local Board of Health, serving all residents of Archuleta and La Plata counties. For close to 70 years, San Juan Basin Public Health has improved the health and environment of the Southwest Colorado.