Summer is peak season for rabies in Colorado as people and pets spend more time outdoors. Arapahoe County Public Health urges residents to avoid contact with wild and stray animals to protect themselves from the risk of rabies exposure.
Rabies is a preventable disease that is spread through direct contact, such as a bite or scratch, with the saliva or brain/nervous system tissue of an animal that is sick with rabies. Most rabies cases are found in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, and coyotes. Rabies is regularly found in Colorado wildlife. As of May 17, 10 animals have tested positive for rabies this year in Colorado. In 2022, 69 rabid animals were reported in Colorado. This included bats and skunks.
It is important to understand your rabies risk and know what to do if you encounter an animal that could have rabies. Take the following precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to rabies:
- Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals, including baby animals.
- Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep vaccinations up to date.
- Teach your children not to pet animals they do not know.
- Keep control of your pets by having cats indoors and dogs on a leash. Keep pets indoors at night.
- Do not attract wild animals to your property. Feed your pets indoors and keep trash cans tightly closed.
If you, a family member, or your pet has been in contact with an animal that could have rabies, call Arapahoe County Public Health right away at 303-795-4584 to determine if you should receive treatment to prevent rabies.
More information about rabies can be found on our website.