EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County Public Health is urging people to take steps to protect themselves, pets, and livestock from rabies after a skunk found south of the Colorado Springs Airport last week tested positive.
The skunk was found north of Mesa Ridge Parkway and east of South Powers Boulevard on Tuesday, September 12.
Samples taken from the skunk came back positive for rabies on Friday, September 15.
This is the 15th confirmed rabid animal (8 skunks, 7 bats) in El Paso County in 2017 and the first to be found in this area this year.
Rabies is fatal in humans if exposed by a bite or scratch from a rabid animal, and not treated. It can be spread from a bat to a person or pet by a bite or scratch, even if very small or barely noticeable. Rabies can also be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Take these precautions to prevent rabies:
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
- When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
- Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
- Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
- Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
- If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (719) 473-1741.
- If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options (719) 473-1741.
- Contact an animal-control specialist for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management.
How to recognize sick wildlife:
- Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans.
- Sick animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
- Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
- However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
- Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.
Reports of Confirmed Rabies in El Paso County, Colorado (2010-2016)
- 2016: 3 (bats)
- 2015: 5 (bats); 1 (cat)
- 2014: 10 (bats)
- 2013: 8 (4 bats, 2 foxes, 2 skunks)
- 2012: 3 (3 bats)
- 2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)
- 2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)
For more information go to www.elpasocountyhealth.org.