Rabid skunk found in Black Forest

FOX21 News file photo

BLACK FOREST, Colo. — A skunk found in Black Forest has tested positive for rabies, according to El Paso County Public Health.

The skunk was found in a horse stall. It tested positive for the disease on Tuesday. Health officials said as far as they know, no humans were exposed to it.

The last time a rabid skunk was found in El Paso County was in 2013. Last year, three rabid bats were found in the county.

Rabies is a viral disease than infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death. It’s spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds or cuts, or enters through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The health department offered the following tips to prevent rabies: 

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed 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 dogs within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Don’t leave pet food outdoors.
  • If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (719) 473-1741.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region for options (719) 473-1741.
  • Contact an animal-control or pet or wildlife for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home.

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