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Arvada Animal Management Rabies Advisement

Within recent months Arvada Animal Management has discovered two Myotis Lucifugus (Little Brown Bats) that have tested positive for rabies.  In both instances the bat had incidental contact with humans and an unconfirmed contact with a feral cat. 

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system of the body.  Initial symptoms of rabies are mundane, consisting of fever, headache, and fatigue.  The symptoms rapidly change and may include insomnia, anxiety, hallucinations, agitation, difficulty swallowing, as well as other symptoms.  Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.

Rabies Transmission

Rabies is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.  The saliva of the rabid animal enters into the victim’s mucus membranes, eventually traveling to the central nervous system.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the vast majority of rabies occurs in wildlife such as skunks, raccoons, and bats.  Domestic animals account for less than 10% of all reported cases. 

In Colorado the primary host of rabies is the bat.  Among other wild or domestic animals the disease is rare.  Rodents such as mice, squirrels, hamsters, and rabbits have never tested positive in Colorado. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advises the last reported cases of rabies in Colorado within the following animals are: dog (1974), cat (1985), raccoon (1963), fox (1996), skunk (1994), and human (1931).

Rabies Prevention

Fortunately rabies is a disease that is easily prevented.  Citizens can protect themselves by not feeding or handling wildlife.  A person cannot be exposed if they do not come in contact with the infected animal.  If an animal is exhibiting abnormal behavior please contact your local Animal Control agency. 

Additionally, domesticated animals are required by State and local laws to be vaccinated.  Vaccinating our pets provides them with the protection against various diseases as well as keeping them healthier overall.  By eliminating exposures to rabid animals and maintaining a consistent, ongoing vaccination program for domesticated animals, citizens have the ability to quash the threat of rabies.
Animal Management 720.898.6850
Dispatch – emergency number 720.898.6900