Three wild animals recently tested positive for rabies in eastern Pinal and Pima counties, according to Animal Control officials.
Ten domestic animals and one person have been exposed to rabies related to the recent rabid animals.
Arizona is currently seeing rabies activity in multiple counties, including Pinal, Pima, Cochise and Maricopa. Rabies is caused by a virus that is almost 100 percent fatal once symptoms appear in all mammals, including humans, officials said. Exposure occurs when a rabid animal bites another mammal and exposes the wound to saliva. The virus causes infection in the brain and affects the behavior of the animal/human. Some signs can include nocturnal animals becoming active during the daytime, lack of fear of humans, increased aggression and loss of appetite, among others. Animals lose the ability to swallow, but do not have foam in their mouths, as many people believe. Humans are able to receive vaccination after exposure to prevent symptoms and disease.
Vaccination of domestic animals is the best way to protect your pets while also slowing the spread of the virus in the community. Arizona requires dogs to be vaccinated and licensed, which can be obtained through Animal Control.
Contact Animal Control if your pet comes into contact with a wild animal, officials said. Wild animals can often be tested for rabies, and Animal Control may be able to trap the animal for testing. Do not touch or attempt to trap the wild animal yourself and do not destroy the bodies of any animals. Contact Animal Control immediately.
If the wild animal tests positive, officials said an exposed pet will be quarantined at home and given a booster rabies shot. However, if the pet is not vaccinated, it could develop rabies and will need to be euthanized or quarantined at Animal Control for six months to protect the animal’s family members. If the wild animal tests, negative, animal control can still provide education to pet owners to help them avoid future risks.
Officials said that in 2017 in Arizona 20 humans were exposed to rabies, 54 domestic animals were exposed and 108 wild animals tested positive for the disease. Of these, 60 were bats, 24 were skunks, 17 were foxes and 7 were bobcats.
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