The JCPH animal borne disease program works to monitor and respond to disease threats in the county. Recently, several bats in the County have tested positive for rabies . This is a good reminder for everyone to take precautions against rabies exposure. While only a small percentage of bats are infected with rabies, it is important to avoid close contact with them. The public should contact their local animal control if they find a dead bat or if they find a bat behaving strangely. Animal control will determine whether the bat needs to be collected and tested. Animal Control will collect specimens for rabies testing if there is a possibility that the bat had contact with people or their pets--particularly within the home or other enclosed buildings.
Jefferson County Health officials advise that even what may seem as insignificant contact with a bat may still be sufficient to transmit the rabies virus. Rabies is spread most often through contact with bat saliva, as a result of bites or from exposure to cuts on the skin. In some instances, people may be unaware that they were bitten and may not see puncture wounds.
Steps to Control and Prevent rabies:
- Avoid contact with all stray and wild animals, including bats.
- Vaccinate all cats, dogs, ferrets, and valuable livestock.
- Do not allow pets to roam free.
- Teach children to leave wildlife alone
- If bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your healthcare provider.
- If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.
- For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local Animal Control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control: 303-271-5070
- For more information on rabies and prevention tips please visit our web site at: http://jeffco.us/public-health/animal-borne-disease/rabies/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/ or call the JCPH Animal-borne Disease Program at at 303-271-5700.