BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. - A skunk in Boulder County has tested positive for rabies.
"This is the first animal that has been reported as positive for rabies in Boulder County this year, and the third in the state," Boulder County officials said.
The skunk was tested after it bit a horse on February 14, near Terry Lake, north of Longmont.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system and is fatal unless it is treated before any symptoms appear.
“While bats are the most common animal source of rabies in Colorado, even more concerning is the increase in 'terrestrial' rabies during the last few years,” said Lane Drager, Consumer Protection Program coordinator for Boulder County Public Health.
Terrestrial rabies, such as skunk rabies, is carried by animals that travel predominantly on the ground. In the last few years skunks have been a significant source of rabies throughout eastern Colorado, now including the Front Range, officials said. Other wild animals that may carry rabies include raccoons and foxes.
“Rabies in ground-dwelling animals increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and livestock,” said Drager. “If you know of a person or domestic animal that has or may have had contact with wildlife, or if you see a wildlife that looks sick or is acting unusual, call your local animal control office.”