Prevent Exposure to Rabies

The Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment reminds the campus community to avoid handling wild animals after two students on Tuesday rescued an injured bat, which later tested positive for rabies, north of campus. Those students were not injured, and are healthy, but are receiving precautionary treatment.

The health department has confirmed 25 cases of rabies in Weld County so far this year (14 skunks, 6 bats, 2 horses, 1 cow, 1 fox, and 1 cat). A map of Weld County rabies cases is at: www.co.weld.co.us/Departments/HealthEnvironment/ZoonoticDiseaseSurveillance.html

There have been no reports of human-to-human transmission of rabies.

To prevent exposure to rabies:

  • Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian
  • Spay or neuter pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in the neighborhood
  • Keep pet food inside and secure trashcan lids to keep unwanted animals away from residential homes.

If you are concerned about a wild animal in the area, contact UNC Police at 351-2245.

Signs of rabies in animals include increases in saliva and drooling, nocturnal animals seen out during the daytime, and slow or difficult movement. Other signs may be aggressive behavior or sick behavior. Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Rabies causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and is nearly always fatal. It is transmitted in saliva through the bite of an infected animal. The virus can also be transmitted in saliva to an open cut, scratch or wound. Anyone who suspects exposure to rabies should contact their medical provider immediately. Effective vaccination treatment is available to prevent rabies if started before symptoms appear.

For questions related to rabies, please call Cheryl Darnell at (970) 304-6415, extension 2270, or Jo Peden at (970) 304-6420 extension 2348.

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