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Posted on: March 13, 2018

County Reminds Everyone to ‘Keep Wildlife Wild’ Rabies in CO Animals Early this year


County Reminds Everyone to ‘Keep Wildlife Wild’, Stay Safe

Rabies in CO Animals Appearing Earlier This Year

March 9, 2018–Clear Creek County Communications, Colo. – The Clear Creek County Public & Environmental Health Team is reminding residents and visitors to the County to keep safe by not picking up or keeping wild animals for pets----and, to vaccinate their pets for rabies.

“Every year when the weather warms up, kids are out of school, summer camps are in full swing and people are enjoying the amenities our County offers, we get calls regarding people interacting with wildlife,” said Charlotte Hampson, Environmental Health Manager. “We recently had a family try and do a good deed by taking in a baby raccoon. Unfortunately, due to the potential for rabies the animal had to be turned over to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) where ultimately those animals get put down due to the inability to rehabilitate them. The best way to protect yourself and wildlife is to leave them alone,” Hampson added.

And speaking of rabies, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reporting 27 animals around the State testing positive for the deadly disease. Per a press release March 7, 2018, it is normal to see rabies appear in animals when the weather warms up, but it has happened earlier this year, in more densely populated areas. According to the Mayo Clinic, “…Animals most likely to transmit rabies in the United States include bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal…” CDPHE advises pet owners to vaccinate their pets immediately, to protect them and humans from rabies.

“Bats are also an issue around the County, especially for campers or people living in housing structures that aren’t well-sealed and insulated,” said Crystal Brandt, Public Health Nurse. “A bat can squeeze into a crack just ½” in diameter, and can bite you while you are sleeping or without you knowing,” she added. According to the Centers for Disease Control, bats also are a main carrier of rabies.

And it’s not just raccoons or bats that can carry disease or cause problems. Many cases around the state stem from people feeding deer, elk, and other wildlife only to have the animals confront or attack them. For example, according to the CPW website, a 75-year old woman in Kansas was gored, trampled and killed by the 200-pound buck she had raised for nearly eight years.

“People are often fascinated with the notion of taking in a hurt animal, nursing it back to health, or just ‘adopting’ a wild animal because they think it’s fun or cute,” said Hampson. “The truth is that wild rabbit or squirrel could cause great harm to them, their family and their domesticated family pets.”

“It is illegal to own wildlife in Colorado…and you cannot remove a wild animal from the woods and take it home,” according to CPW.
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For more information, contact John Bryan, Communications Director, at 303-679-2307, or email:
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According to the CDC:
The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva or brain/nervous system tissue. You can only get rabies by coming in contact with these specific bodily excretions and tissues. It’s important to remember that rabies is a medical urgency but not an emergency. Decisions should not be delayed. Wash any wounds immediately. One of the most effective ways to decrease the chance for infection is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. See your doctor for attention for any trauma due to an animal attack before considering the need for rabies vaccination. Your doctor, possibly in consultation with your state or local health department, will decide if you need a rabies vaccination. Decisions to start vaccination, known as postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), will be based on your type of exposure and the animal you were exposed to, as well as laboratory and surveillance information for the geographic area where the exposure occurred. In the United States, postexposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period. Rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure. Additional doses or rabies vaccine should be given on days 3, 7, and 14 after the first vaccination. Current vaccines are relatively painless and are given in your arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine.
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