Fri May 7th, 2021
As we enter the warm weather seasons, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) would like to remind residents to be rabies aware. SJBPH urges residents spending time outdoors to avoid contact with wild animals, especially those acting unusually.
Please also take precautions for pets and livestock, and be sure their vaccinations are current. Pets and other domestic animals can be infected when they are bitten by rabid wild animals.
When “spillover” rabies occurs from wild animals to domestic animals, the risk to humans is increased.
“By knowing what to watch for and taking the proper precautions, rabies infections are very preventable. Be rabies aware when you are camping, hiking, or just working in the yard this year and we can prevent potentially fatal rabies infections in our community,” said Liane Jollon, Executive Director, SJBPH.
Humans get rabies from the bite of a rabies-infected animal. Any wild mammal, such as raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote, or bat can have rabies and transmit it to humans through a bite.
Rabies 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 report an encounter with a suspect animal, please call San Juan Basin Public Health at 970-247-5702.
Because bats are the most common carriers of rabies in Colorado, SJBPH is reminding the public about strict guidance for post-exposure treatment when a potential bat contact occurs. Bats can bite people while they sleep and individuals may not realize that they have been bitten. If a bat has been present in a room with children or people who are sleeping, it is important that the bat is safely trapped and tested for rabies. If a bat cannot be tested or there are multiple bats in the home, post-exposure treatment is recommended. Please contact SJBPH for guidance on safe capture/testing of bats, and follow-up.
General tips to protect yourself from rabies:
To recognize sick wildlife:
To report an encounter with a suspect animal, please call San Juan Basin Public Health at 970- 247-5702.