Mesa County Health Department reported this week that three bats in Mesa County have tested positive for rabies. Therefore, health officials want to remind people not to handle wildlife or stray animals.
If a wild animal allows a person to approach and handle it, the animal is probably ill or injured and will bite in self-defense. A healthy animal usually will remain well-hidden and avoid human contact. If you are bitten by an animal, contact Mesa County Animal Services and consult with a physician without delay.
"This is a good time to remind people to keep their pets' rabies vaccinations up to date and take a few simple precautions to avoid pets coming in contact with wildlife," said Penny McCarty, director of Mesa County Animal Services. Having pets vaccinated is the simplest and most effective way to protect pets and family members from this deadly disease, added McCarty.
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals, resulting in a fatal disease. The virus is shed in the saliva of infected animals. People and animals get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal or contact with saliva from such an animal. The last human case of rabies in Colorado was reported in 1931. There is no treatment for rabies once the symptoms of the disease appear.
For more information, call animal services at 970-242-4646 or the health department at 970-254-4120.