EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) – El Paso County Public Health is warning residents about a bat that tested positive for rabies in Fountain Valley. This is the first one detected in 2022.
Residents should make sure their pets are up to date on the rabies vaccination and avoid wild animals.
“Rabies tends to be more common in the spring and summer months,” said Dr. Urbina, medical director of El Paso County Public Health. “It’s important to know that there are several easy steps people can take to protect themselves and their pets from rabies. One of the best preventive actions you can take is to make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.”
The Health Department has these precautions that can be help prevent rabies:
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies through a veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
- When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
- Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep pets within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
- What to do if you or your pet have been exposed by a scratch or bite from a wild animal:
- If you believe your pet has been exposed, contact your veterinarian and El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) immediately.
- If you or a family member has been exposed, contact your doctor and EPCPH immediately.
- You can report exposures through EPCPH’s bite report portal. You can also reach EPCPH at (719) 578-3220, or (719) 235-2278 after hours.
- Bat bites can be difficult to detect because they may not leave a mark. If you find a bat in your house and are unsure how long it has been there, do not release, discard, or kill the bat. Contact EPCPH at (719) 578-3220. This is so that EPCPH can test the animal for rabies and make recommendations on treatment if needed.
- Seal houses to prevent bats and other animals from nesting, and if already present, use a professional removal service.
- Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available here
- Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at (719) 473-1741.
How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:
- Healthy, wild animals are normally afraid of humans. Foxes are active at night but can also be seen out during the day, especially if they are looking for food for their pups.
- Sick or diseased animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
- Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
- However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
- Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.
Officials say preventable medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear.
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