Jefferson County, Colo. — It’s summer in Colorado, and it’s the perfect time for Jeffco residents to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities. Whether you’re spending your days at cookouts, hiking or by the pool, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds you to make sure insects and animals don’t crash the party. In Colorado, there are several insect- and animal-borne diseases you need to know about so you can keep your summer safe, healthy and fun.
The most common of these diseases in Jeffco are rabies and West Nile Virus.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease most often transmitted through the bite or saliva of a rabid animal. When not treated, rabies can cause serious illness and is almost always fatal. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones – furry friends included – against rabies. Rabies has been detected in most terrestrial wild animals and has been detected in unvaccinated cats and dogs in Colorado. Although any mammal can get rabies, bats and skunks test positive for rabies most often in Jefferson County every year.
How to prevent rabies:
West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. West Nile Virus is found in Colorado every year. While most people have no symptoms at all, some people with the virus develop a fever, fatigue, headache and/or muscle and joint aches, which can progress to serious illness.
How to prevent West Nile Virus:
Other diseases to know about:
“One of the most important things to remember here in Jeffco — as we live, work and play on the cusp of urban and mountain areas — is to let wildlife stay wild,” said Jessa Woodward, Environmental Health Supervisor at JCPH. “Keep your distance from wild animals, and if you come across an animal that seems to be sick, acting strangely or is in a place they should not be, like your backyard, do not touch them and contact your local animal control for further guidance.”
For more information about animal-borne and insect-borne diseases and how to stay safe this summer, visit our website or call JCPH at 303-271-5700.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we 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.