Public Health reports first rabid bat of 2021

Bat found in the Turkey Creek Canyon/Red Valley Estates near Fort Carson

El Paso County, CO - El Paso County Public Health is urging residents to keep pets up to date on rabies vaccination and to avoid wild animals after a bat found in the Turkey Creek Canyon / Red Valley Estates neighborhood near Fort Carson tested positive for rabies.

Take these precautions to prevent rabies:

  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies by using a licensed veterinarian. Rabies shots need to be boosted, so check your pet’s records or talk to your veterinarian.
  • When walking or hiking with your dog, protect them and wildlife by keeping your dog on a leash.
  • Keep cats and other pets inside at night to reduce the risk of exposure to other domestic animals and wildlife. Keep pets within your sight (in a fenced yard, or on leash) during the day while outside.
  • Contact your veterinarian promptly if you believe your pet has been exposed to a wild animal.
  • Do not touch or feed wild animals. Wild animals like skunks and foxes adapt to residential environments if food is available – please don’t leave pet food outdoors.
  • If you or a family member is bitten or scratched by a wild or unknown animal, call your doctor and report to El Paso County Public Health at 719-578-3220 or 719-235-2278 after-hours.
  • If you encounter a lost or stray dog or cat, contact the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region at (719) 473-1741.
  • Contact an animal-control or wildlife conservation agency for assistance with “bat-proofing” your home. Information is also available at www.cdc.gov/rabies/bats/management

How to recognize sick or diseased wildlife:

  • Healthy, wild animals are normally afraid of humans. Foxes are active at night but can also be seen out during the day, especially if they are looking for food for their pups.
  • Sick or diseased animals often do not run away when spotted by people.
  • Wildlife suffering from rabies will often act aggressively and violently approach people or pets.
  • However, sometimes rabid animals are overly quiet and passive and want to hide. If they are hiding, leave them alone. Rabid wildlife might also stumble or have trouble walking.
  • Report sick or diseased animals to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (719) 227-5200.

Preventive medication is available for people known or suspected to have been bitten by a rabid animal. It is important for people bitten or scratched by a wild animal or an unfamiliar animal to contact their doctor immediately. Rabies is fatal once symptoms appear.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the brain and other parts of the central nervous system, causing brain swelling and damage, and ultimately, death. Rabies is spread primarily through the bite of rabid animals, resulting in the spread of the disease through their infected saliva. Rabies also can be spread when saliva from an infected animal gets into open wounds, cuts or enters through membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth.

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Jared Verner
Deputy Public Health Information Officer
(cell) 719-822-4113
El Paso County, CO