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Jefferson County, Colo. - As families prepare for camping, barbecueing and other outdoor fun this Memorial Day Weekend, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) wishes to remind everyone to put safety at the top of their checklist. Just like the warm weather is drawing people outside, it's also bringing out the animals and insects that carry disease.
This summer, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from animal- and insect-borne diseases, like Rabies, West Nile Virus, Western Equine Encephalitis, Zika Virus, Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Bubonic Plague, Tularemia and Colorado Tick Fever. These diseases, which are carried by wild creatures like rodents, rabbits, squirrels, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, can be transmitted to humans and cause serious health complications.
Last month, a dead fox was collected by a resident in the Ken Caryl Ranch area that tested positive for plague.
JCPH has also reported 14 positive rabies cases in skunks throughout Jefferson County. In 2016, JCPH only saw five rabies infected skunks for the entire year. JCPH Environmental Specialist Dave Volkel urges Jeffco residents to make sure their pets and valuable livestock get vaccinated.
"Even if your pets are indoor pets, it is still a major concern. Bats that can also be infected with rabies, are often times found indoors," Volkel said. "Valuable livestock such as horses or cattle should also be vaccinated."
Check out the JCPH YouTube channel to see where you can get your pets vaccinated in Jefferson County.
JCPH is encouraging everyone to stay safe using the simple acronym, RADAR.
Repellent - One of the best ways to stay safe from mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects is to always wear an insect repellent when outdoors, particularly during dusk and dawn or when near water.
Appropriate clothing - When enjoying outdoor recreation, covering up skin with long sleeves, pants and closed-toe shoes can help keep bugs away.
Don't touch the animals - If you see a wild animal, the best course of action is to keep your distance and DO NOT TOUCH IT. If the animal is behaving erratically or is dead, call your local animal control agency for assistance.
Always vaccinate pets - They're part of the family, too, so take their health as seriously as you would take a child's. Vaccinate them against rabies, which is nearly always fatal and can be transferred to humans, and provide flea and tick protection when bringing Fluffy with the family on a hike.
Remove standing water - Just like humans need water to live, so do insects and animals. Removing any standing water from your property, such as a puddle or a bird bath, reduces the risk of animal- and insect-borne disease by making your yard a less appealing habitat.
To learn more about any of the diseases carried by Colorado wildlife and access additional tips on keeping your family safe, call the JCPH Environmental Health Services Zoonosis Program at (303) 271-5700 or visit the JCPH Animal-Borne Disease webpage.
May 18, 2017
100 Jefferson County Parkway Golden, Colorado 80419 (303) 279-6511
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