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First 2023 case of rabies in Colorado found in Morrison

Public health officials recommend precautions be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies.
Credit: karel - stock.adobe.com

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A skunk found in Jefferson County has tested positive for rabies.

This is the first rabid animal to be found in Colorado in 2023.

The skunk was found Jan. 2 in Morrison near West Belleview and Quincy Avenue, according to Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH).

JCPH said the skunk was found at a private home and there is the potential for both human and animal exposure. The home’s residents have been advised to contact their physician to mitigate this risk.

Dogs that live at the residence are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, and will be given a booster and placed under a 45-day observation period, JCPH said.

"While rabies cases are most frequently seen in warmer months, historically, Colorado does see some cases all year long," Environmental Health Specialist Rachel Reichardt said. "Last year in Jefferson County, there were 15 animals that tested positive for rabies."

Public health tips to reduce chances of exposure to rabies:

  • Do not handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
  • Do not feed wildlife.
  • Teach children to observe wildlife from a distance and to notify an adult if there is a wild animal in the area or if they are bitten or scratched.
  • Eliminate food sources for wild animals by not feeding pets outdoors, closing pet doors (especially at night), and tightly closing garbage cans and feed bins.
  • Ensure that your pets, horses and livestock are up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
  • Maintain control of pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

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