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Public Health - News

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Jeffco Sees First Rabies Case of 2020

bat

Jefferson County, Colo. – A bat found on May 20, 2020 in Littleton near the intersection of C-470 and South Platte Canyon Road just north of Chatfield State Park has tested positive for rabies. This is the first rabid animal to be found in Jefferson County in 2020. In 2019, there were 17 rabid animals found in Jefferson County, and eight of those were bats.

The bat was found in a private residential yard, and there is the potential for both human and animal exposure. The homeowner has been advised to contact their physician about post-exposure prophylaxis to mitigate this risk. The dog that lives at the residence was up-to-date on its rabies vaccination, and will be given a booster and placed under a 45-day observation period.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages residents to take several precautions to prevent exposure and minimize harm from this deadly virus:

  • Vaccinate all domestic pets and valuable livestock against rabies and ensure vaccines are kept up-to-date. A domestic animal encounter with any wild animal will be treated like an exposure to a rabid animal. Domestic animals without up-to-date rabies vaccinations will be classified as high risk and be required to undergo a 120-day quarantine.
  • Avoid contact with any wild animals, especially those that act unusually. A healthy wild animal will generally avoid human contact. Do not feed wild animals, since this reduces their natural fear of humans.
  • Teach children to stay away from all wild animals, stray domestic pets or dead animals, and to tell an adult if they are scratched or bitten. Please remind children of all ages that a sick, dying or dead animal may carry diseases that humans can contract — trying to help an animal can cause more harm than good.
  • Do not allow pets to roam free, since this can increase the chance they could be exposed without your knowledge. Do not leave pet food or livestock feed outside or feed your outdoor pet more than they can finish, as this will encourage a wildlife presence.
  • If your pet comes into contact with a wild animal, wear gloves while cleaning them to minimize your risk of exposure to the virus.
  • If a person has been bitten or scratched by a wild mammal, they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek immediate medical attention and notify their local animal control agency. Prompt medical treatment is key to preventing rabies after a possible exposure.

To report a suspicious or dead animal or an animal bite, please contact your local animal control agency, or Jefferson County Animal Control at 303-271-5070.

For more information about rabies, please contact JCPH’s Animal Borne Disease Program, part of the Environmental Health Services Division, at 303-232-6301, or visit www.jeffco.us/2365.   


About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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