Rabies confirmed in second skunk

Posted 5/10/16

Jefferson County Public Health has confirmed that a second skunk found near Highway 93 and 58th Avenue tested positive for rabies. Test results came in on May 4.

The skunk was reported by a citizen and euthanized by Jefferson County Animal …

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Rabies confirmed in second skunk

Posted

Jefferson County Public Health has confirmed that a second skunk found near Highway 93 and 58th Avenue tested positive for rabies. Test results came in on May 4.

The skunk was reported by a citizen and euthanized by Jefferson County Animal Control. There were no known exposures to animals or people. However, because this is the second skunk to test positive for rabies in the county, pet owners are strongly urged to vaccinate all domestic pets and valuable livestock against rabies. Pets should also not be allowed to roam free.

Any domestic animal encounter with a wild animal will be treated like an exposure to a rabid animal. Domestic animals with one expired rabies vaccine or without any rabies vaccinations will be classified as high risk and will be required to undergo a 180-day quarantine.

Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. In humans, exposure to the rabies virus is not fatal when treated in time. If exposed, wash the affected area with soap and water for 10 minutes. Then contact your physician for an evaluation.

Modern treatment consists of one dose of anti-rabies globulin, which will provide immediate antibodies until the body can respond to the vaccine, and a series of five vaccine shots in the arm over a period of weeks. Treatment should be sought as soon as possible.

The virus is shed in the saliva of infected animals. People or animals can get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal or from a rabid animal’s saliva if it comes in contact with their eyes, nose, mouth or open wounds. Immediate medical treatment is required after exposure to an infected animal. Skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons and other wildlife should not be handled or fed to prevent exposure to this virus.

In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, there are additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:

• Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially any that act unusually. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact. Do not feed wild animals, since this reduces their natural fear of humans.

• Teach children to stay away from all wild animals, stray domestic pets, or any dead animals and tell an adult if they are scratched or bitten.

• Wildlife suffering from rabies will often be out during the day, act aggressively and violently approach people or pets. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.

• If a person has been bitten or scratched by a wild mammal, they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical attention and also notify their local public health agency. Prompt medical treatment is the key to preventing rabies after a possible exposure. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.

• Do not leave pet food or livestock feed outside or feed more than your outdoor pet will finish in one feeding.

For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local animal control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070. For more information about rabies, contact Environmental Health Services Animal Borne Disease Program at 303-232-6301 or visit http://jeffco.us/public-health/healty-environments/animal-borne-disease.

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