A skunk captured in Lakewood near Wadsworth and 16th Avenue was infected with rabies, according to lab results from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The skunk came into contact with one dog that was up to date with its vaccines. The dog has received booster vaccinations and is now on a 45-day home observation period. The skunk is one of several animals in Jefferson County that has tested positive for rabies already this year.
In 2016, 88 wild and domestic animals in Colorado were confirmed rabies-positive by the department laboratory. Ten were from Jefferson County. The vast majority were wild animals with skunks and bats being the most common.
The public is urged to vaccinate domestic pets and valuable livestock against rabies and to be sure vaccinations are kept up-to-date.
Following are additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:
• Avoid contact with wild animals, especially any that act unusually. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact.
• Teach children to stay away from wild animals, stray domestic pets or any dead animals and to tell an adult if they are scratched or bitten.
• Wildlife suffering from rabies will often be out during the day, act aggressively and violently approach people or pets. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
• Do not let pets roam freely.
• Contact a veterinarian if your dog or cat is bitten or scratched by a wild animal.
• If a person is bitten or scratched by a wild mammal, they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical attention and notify a local public health agency. Prompt medical treatment is key to preventing rabies after a possible exposure.
• Do not feed wild animals,.
• Do not leave pet food or livestock feed outside, or feed more than your outdoor pet will finish in one feeding.
For more information or to report a suspicious animal, contact the local animal control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070.