WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Health officials in Weld County say 21 people were exposed to rabies — making it the largest rabies exposure case for that county, according to officials.

A woman found a baby raccoon and took it to her home after it was abandoned. The animal tested positive for rabies, but not before the 21 people were exposed to it.

Since then, those patients have started receiving post-exposure treatment.

Officials say they’re worried about the number of cases growing in other animals other than skunks or bats.

“We’re concerned about the growing number of cases among other animals such as raccoons and cats,” Mark E. Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department said.

Health officials offer rabies exposure prevention tips:

– Leave orphaned animals alone. Baby animals often appear to be orphaned when they are not. The parent animal may not return if people are too close.
– Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats.
– Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian.
– If you do find a wild animal that appears to be sick, injured or orphaned, contact your local Animal Control Officer, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, or a local veterinary office before attempting to move it.

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