FORT COLLINS, Colo. — One mountain lion and two skunks have tested positive for rabies in Larimer County since the beginning of 2020. The overall number of positive animals in the county is consistent with previous years in March, however, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) urge residents to stay away from stray and wild animals, check pets’ rabies vaccination status and take other precautions to avoid rabies.
Rabies is regularly found in Colorado wildlife, especially skunks and bats. Interaction between humans and wild animals, particularly bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons, increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and people, said Dr. Jennifer House, Colorado state public health veterinarian.
“If you or your pets have had contact with wildlife, call LCDHE at 970-498-6775 for those in Larimer County or CDPHE at 303-692-2700 immediately," House said.
She added that it is also crucial to make sure all dogs and cats are vaccinated.
“The vaccine can prevent companion animals from getting rabies from wildlife and possibly exposing your whole family to the disease,” she said.
According to the CDPHE, eight animals have been found carrying rabies in the state so far this year (seven skunks and one mountain lion) including the three that have been found in Larimer County. The numbers represent only animals that were tested after they had encounters with people, pets or livestock. There are many more rabid animals in the Colorado outdoors that never get tested.
Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals. It is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms appear. People who have been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal should contact their health care provider immediately to reduce the risk of rabies.
How to stay safe:
Important Phone Numbers/Points of Contact
Tips to recognize sick wildlife: