Jefferson County, Colo. — A skunk found in the foothills area of unincorporated Jefferson County, near I-70 and Paradise Road, has tested positive for rabies. This is the first animal to test positive for rabies in Jefferson County in 2019.
Rabies is most often found in bats and skunks in the area, but can also be found in foxes, raccoons and other wild mammals. In 2018, 18 skunks and 8 bats tested positive for rabies in Jefferson County, and multiple domestic pets and humans were exposed to the virus.
Though the skunk tested on March 20 had no known human or domestic animal exposures, Jefferson County residents and visitors should be cautious of wildlife and aware of the risks of exposure, including potential quarantine for animals, post-exposure prophylaxis for humans and in some cases, euthanasia for infected pets.
Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals and is nearly always fatal. The virus is shed in the saliva of infected animals. People or animals can get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal or from a rabid animal’s saliva if it comes in contact with their eyes, nose, mouth or open wounds, in which case immediate medical attention is necessary.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages residents to take several precautions to prevent exposure and minimize harm from this deadly virus:
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 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 and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.