A sick skunk found in Superior has tested positive for rabies, prompting Boulder County health officials to issue an alert about the deadly disease.
The skunk was located on Sunday near South Idalia Court, and officials said any human or pet who may have been bitten or scratched by the animal could have contracted the virus and may need a series of shots to curb the disease, according to Boulder County Public Health officials.
It is believed that the sick animal had no contact with humans or animals, but BCPH officials are encouraging anyone who lives near the area where the skunk was found to contact them immediately if they or their pets had any recent contact with the animal.
In addition to urging residents to come forward, BCPH officials released a list of tips to reduce possible exposure to rabies:
- Do not handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
- Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
- Keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats and ferrets.
- Maintain control of pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision
- Teach children to leave wildlife alone
- Do not leave pet food or livestock feed in areas that are accessible to wildlife
- If a person or pet has been bitten by or has had contact with a bat or wild animal, seek medical care immediately, and then contact your local animal control agency or (BCPH) to arrange for rabies testing.
Terrestrial rabies, such as the virus found in skunks, are carried by animals that travel mostly on the ground. Over the past few years, skunks have been a significant source of rabies throughout eastern Colorado and the Front Range, according to BCPH officials.
Raccoons and foxes are also known to carry rabies.
Although rabies are across eastern Colorado and the Front Range, BCPH envrionemtnal health specialist Carol McInnes said the best way to reduce the chances of our pets getting sick is to keep their vaccinations up-to-date.
"Making sure rabies vaccination are up-to-date for dogs, cats, horses and livestock is the most important and effective way to protect both animals and humans from contracting rabies," said McInnes in a release.
Those who are not up-to-date and contract rabbles may need to be euthanized or be placed into a four-month quarantine.
For more information about rabies, click here.