FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– Larimer County is warning people about the dangers of rabid animals and the possibility of infecting pets and people. Officials have seen an unsettling rise in wild animals with the disease.
Two people have been treated for exposure so far this year. There have been a dozen wild animals that have tested positive for rabies this year including a fox for the first time ever.
“Right now we have more cases than any other county in the state,” said Larimer County Health Department spokeswoman Jane Viste. “Be aware that this is on the rise and it can be carried by multiple animals and we need to be careful.”
Officials are concerned because dogs are always digging around bushes and other areas where infected animals could be lurking. Those dogs could become infected and bring rabies back home to humans.
The Larimer County Health Department has posted warning signs about rabies at area trails. The most recent case of rabies has been found in a fox. Skunks, racoons and bats have also tested positive.
“The majority of animals out there do not have rabies and the majority won’t have rabies but when this occurs it really can be a tough situation. It’s a fatal illness,” said Viste.
Colorado State University conducts a lot of rabies tests as part of their research.
“The majority of positives we get will be from wildlife, skunks and bats mostly,” said CSU Microbiologist Chris Gates.
Health officials are urging pet owners to keep their vaccinations up to date.
“Keep up on their shots and you shouldn’t have a problem,” said Viste. “Rabies is always kind of scary especially when it’s in town and I have outdoor cats so that’s a concern but my dog, not really.”
Viste said to be on the lookout for animals acting strangely. If you suspect something is wrong contact animal control.