Take Steps to Prevent Rabies
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds residents and pet owners of the importance of keeping livestock, dogs, cats and ferrets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations and taking additional precautions to prevent rabies exposure.
Rabies is caused by a virus, which affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. The virus is present in the saliva of infected animals. People or animals can get rabies from a bite or contact with saliva of any rabid animal―whether that is a wild animal or an infected pet, horse or farm animal. Immediate treatment is required after human exposure to an infected animal’s saliva.
Thus far this year, Jefferson County has submitted 44 animals to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for testing (1-coyote, 6 raccoons, 10 bats, 5 skunks, 22 dogs/cats). Of those submitted for testing, two bats have returned positive for rabies. There were people and other animals potentially exposed to these positive rabies cases and they are in contact with appropriate healthcare providers and veterinarians.
Dave Volkel, JCPH Animal Borne Disease Program said, “Vaccinating pets and livestock against rabies is the simplest and most effective way to protect both animals and humans from rabies.”
In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, there are additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:
- Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals.
- If you find a bat inside your home, do not let it out or discard of it. Call animal control so that the animal can be tested. Otherwise, exposure is assumed and quarantine and/or prophylaxis will be required.
- Teach children to leave wildlife alone.
- Do not leave pet food or livestock feed in areas accessible to wildlife.
- Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
- Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in your community.
- Call your local animal control office to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.
- Call the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (303)297-1192 if you have problems with wild animals.
If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.
- For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local animal control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control: 303-271-5070
- For more information about rabies contact Environmental Health Services Animal Borne Disease Program at 303-271-5700 or visit www.jeffco.us/health.
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Rabies Surveillance Map: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/zoonosis/rabies/skunkrabiesmap.pdf