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Rabid skunks in metro area

Posted at 1:23 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 15:23:15-04

Four skunks in Jefferson County and one skunk in Aurora have tested positive for rabies.

Local health officials are getting the word out as outdoor enthusiasts start taking advantage of the warmer weather.

Hiking trails are getting busier and busier by the day and with that, there's a higher probability of coming in contact with wildlife, maybe even a rabid skunk, officials said.

"Once rabies is in the natural population it's going to spread," said Craig Sanders with Jefferson County Public Health. "Once it's in there .. there isn't much you can do .. which is why we need to stress prevention."

Two skunks tested positive in Golden, one in Arvada and another in the foothills area of Jefferson County, just in the past few weeks. A fifth skunk tested positive in Aurora.

Sanders says the best way to protect your pets is to vaccinate them and keep up with their vaccinations. One of the rabid skunks was found in a barn full of horses. Sanders says that's a sign that it's just as important to vaccinate horses.

Jefferson County Public Health asks outdoor enthusiasts to be on the lookout for skunks acting abnormally. Skunks are nocturnal so if they're out in broad daylight and acting aggressively, they could very well have rabies. 

There is no cure for rabies, making prevention that much more important.

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