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Rabid skunk found in Lafayette

The skunk was found near Waneka Reservoir earlier this month.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — A skunk found near Waneka Reservoir in Lafayette has tested positive for rabies, according to Boulder County Public Health.

The health department said on Nov. 5 that a family living nearby let their dogs out into their yard, where they found a sick skunk. The family called animal control, which retrieved the skunk and submitted it for rabies testing. It later tested positive, the health department said.

> The video above is from September, when rabid bats were found in northern Colorado

The health department said one of the dogs was sprayed by the skunk, but both dogs were up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. The skunk did not have any known contact with humans.

Boulder County Public Health asks that you call 303-441-1564 immediately if there is any possibility that you, a family member or your pet has come in contact with a skunk.

Anyone who finds that a skunk has come into contact with a human or pet should call their local animal control office.

This is at least the second time this year that a skunk in Boulder County has tested positive for rabies.

RELATED: Colorado skunk tests positive for rabies

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects human and animal nervous systems and is almost always fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear, the health department said.

Exposure to rabies is usually the result of a bite or scratch by an infected animal, the health department said. It is sometimes practically undetectable, such as a tiny puncture of the skin. Treatment for rabies exposure involves a series of vaccinations.

The health department recommends the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies: 

  • Do not handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. Contact animal control to collect the animal.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Keep vaccinations current for all dogs, cats and ferrets. Keep cats and ferrets inside and dogs under direct supervision.
  • Contact your local public health department if people or pets have been bitten or exposed to a skunk.

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RELATED: Rabid bats found in northern Colorado