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Springs man attacked by rabid fox

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs man is recovering after being attacked by a rabid fox on August 3, 2013. The attack happened on Broadlake View in southwest Colorado Springs, near the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

The man was trying to protect his dog when the fox attacked.

This is the second fox to test positive for rabies within 3 weeks in the same neighborhood.

The first fox was found about a half-mile away on High Lake View on July 20. No one is believed to have been exposed to the first rabid fox.

These cases mark the first time that an animal other than a bat has tested positive for rabies west of I-25 in El Paso County.

For the next few weeks, El Paso County Public Health will be doing enhanced surveillance for foxes. Public Health has heightened interest in reports of foxes from Broadmoor Bluffs, Old Broadmoor, Broadmoor Resort Community, Broadmoor Glen, and The Spires at Broadmoor.

El Paso County Public Health says that if you live in one of these neighborhoods and are approached by a fox that seems unafraid of humans, or encounter a sick, injured or dead fox, you should contact them at (719) 578-3220 and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (719) 227-5200.

"Finding rabies in the western part of El Paso County is significant because there are more opportunities for pets and people to come in contact with wild animals, so people need to be alert." said Jill Law, R.N., M.H.A., El Paso County Public Health Director.

Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear. Never feed or touch wild animals, and keep pets and livestock rabies vaccinations up to date through a licensed veterinarian.

Feeding wild animals makes them less afraid of people and brings large numbers of animals into small areas. This increases the risk of transmission of disease to humans and pets. Unvaccinated pets or livestock are at risk of infection, which also puts owners or family members at risk.

Preventive medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor.

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 when foxes and skunks are more active. 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.
  • Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with "bat-proofing" your home. Information is also available at by clicking here.

How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:

  • Healthy wild animals are normally afraid of humans. Foxes are active at night but can also be seen out during the day, especially if they are looking for food for their pups.
  • Sick or diseased 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.

Rabies is a viral disease than infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death. Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Reports of Rabies in El Paso County, Colorado

2013: 1 (2 foxes – first cases reported west of Interstate 25)
2012: 3 (3 bats)
2011: 15 (5 bats, 1 fox, 9 skunks)
2010: 17 (8 bats, 4 foxes, 5 skunks)

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