The transmission of rabies to humans by infected wild and domestic animals remains a threat to human health. As shown in the table below, cases of rabies continue in Colorado today. Since 2009, there have also been confirmed cases of rabies in a mule deer, coyote, muskrat, and mountain lion.
Last Known Rabies Case in Colorado
Fox, Bat, Skunk
In fact, all mammals can get rabies, and usually contract the disease by a bite from an infected animal. Because rabies affects the brain, signs in animals and people include abnormal behavior change. Nocturnal animals, like bats, may come out during the day. After a bite, it may take several months for rabies signs to develop, but once signs develop in humans or animals, the disease is fatal. Luckily, rabies is a preventable disease through vaccination and proper after-bite care.
All domestic pets, including horses and livestock, should be vaccinated against rabies. Your veterinarian can vaccinate your animals for rabies, which is required for pet licensing in the towns of Delta County. If you live in incorporated parts of Delta County, contact your town hall to see if licensing is required. Although licensing in unincorporated Delta County is currently not required, rabies vaccination is still strongly recommended to keep you and your pet safe. All dog bites are required to be reported to the Health Department in order for the dog to be quarantined and observed.
To decrease the risk of rabies, do not handle wildlife or bats, and report any rabies suspects to an animal control officer. If bitten, wash the wound immediately and contact your physician if you suspect the animal was rabid. Remember, a bat bite or scratch is an emergency!