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Rabid skunks in Colorado and El Paso County prompt officials to advise animal vaccinations

May 15, 2017 Updated: May 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm
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photo - Residents across Colorado are being urged to vaccinate their pets and livestock from rabies amid widespread discovery of the disease - including in El Paso County. (Christian Murdock, The Gazette file)
Residents across Colorado are being urged to vaccinate their pets and livestock from rabies amid widespread discovery of the disease - including in El Paso County. (Christian Murdock, The Gazette file) 

Residents across Colorado are being urged to vaccinate their pets and livestock from rabies amid widespread discovery of the disease, including in El Paso County.

About three dozen skunks in 10 counties have tested positive for the deadly disease, including two in Black Forest along the county's northern edge, state and local health officials said.

Half of those rabid skunks - 14 - were found in Jefferson County, reports the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

Colorado Department of Agriculture officials say vaccination is the best way to protect pets and livestock from the viral disease, which is fatal once symptoms begin to show.

Rabid animals - most often bats - are found every year in the county. But rabid skunks hadn't been found here since 2013. That year, two skunks tested positive for the disease, along with four bats and two foxes, said county Public Health officials.

In 2009, a horse in Black Forest tested positive for rabies after many rabid skunks were found in the area, local health department records show.

So far this year, one rabid skunk was found in March and another in April.

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Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter: @jakobrodgers

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