Rabid skunk identified | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rabid skunk identified

Tribune staff report

El Dorado County Animal Services reported a rabid skunk was found in the Pleasant Valley area on April 24. A member of the public observed the skunk showing signs of rabies. The officer retrieved the skunk and sent it to the El Dorado County Public Health Laboratory for testing. Test results came back positive for rabies on April 27.

"Animal Services is not aware of any reports of human or pet contact with the rabid skunk at this time," said Henry Brzezinski, Chief of Animal Services. "However, we did want to let the community know as a precaution."

This is the third rabid skunk identified in El Dorado County in 2015; a rabid skunk was found on Feb.10, in Placerville and another on Feb. 27, in El Dorado. Animal Services is not aware of any human contact with the skunks. In 2014, a total of 14 rabid skunks were found in various locations throughout El Dorado County.

Animal Services is reminding residents that rabies is present in El Dorado County and prevention efforts are important for everyone. "It is critical that pet owners keep their pets current on their rabies vaccinations and report all animal bites and possible rabies exposures," said Brzezinski. "Rabies is spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. Without a vaccination and prompt bite reporting, pets can acquire rabies and pass it on to people and pets. Left untreated, rabies is almost always fatal."

Rabid animals usually stop eating and drinking, and may want to be left alone. After these initial symptoms, the animal may become vicious or show signs of paralysis (e.g., difficulty walking, staggering, confusion, etc.). Once the animal starts to have signs of paralysis, the disease spreads very quickly and the animal dies. It is estimated that rabies kills more than 50,000 people worldwide each year; cases are mostly seen in underdeveloped countries that don't have rabies control programs.

For more information about rabies, including prevention tips, visit Animal Services' website at: http://www.edcgov.us/animalservices. Animal Services may be reached at (530) 621-5795 in the Placerville area or (530) 573-7925 in South Lake Tahoe.

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