Springs man attacked by rabid fox

Chris Loveless, Digital Content Director , c.loveless@krdo.com
POSTED: 10:22 AM MDT Aug 09, 2013    UPDATED: 10:32 AM MDT Aug 09, 2013 

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:

How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:

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)