DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS
The New Mexico Department of Health reports rabies has been confirmed in a skunk that attacked a person in De Baca County last week. This is the second skunk that tested positive for rabies in that county, the first one had an interaction with a dog earlier in April. Both the individual attacked by the latest skunk and the dog that was exposed in the first case have received appropriate rabies post-exposure vaccination.
There has been a total of four rabid animals in New Mexico so far in 2020, a fox in Grant County, and three skunks, one in Curry County, and these two in De Baca County.
Pet and livestock owners should ensure that their dogs, cats, horses and other livestock get vaccinated against rabies. No pet food or garbage should be left outside. Pets should be leashed while being walked outside.
Residents are reminded to be aware of strangely behaving wild animals. People should avoid any contact with skunks or other wild animals.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented but not cured.
Any contact with wild animals should be immediately reported to the Department of Health. The public should call their local Department of Game and Fish office or call radio dispatch at (505) 827-9376 for assistance with wildlife acting oddly, especially foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and bats. The public should immediately call the New Mexico Department of Health at (505) 827-0006 if they or their pets are bitten or otherwise exposed to the saliva of wild animals.
The following guidelines can help protect you and your family from rabies:
- Always keep pets on a leash when outdoors. Pets should be up-to-date on rabies vaccinations and wearing current license tags on their collar. If your cat or dog has been bitten or scratched, call your pet’s veterinarian, even if the wound is superficial.
- Horses and other livestock should be considered for rabies vaccination to protect them from rabid animals that may attack them.
- Stay away from wild or unfamiliar animals. This includes animals who are acting sick, fearless, aggressive or even friendly. Do not attempt to feed, approach, or touch wild animals (alive or dead). Teach this important message to your children.
- If you or a loved-one are bitten by an animal, or come into contact with an animal’s saliva, wash the exposed site immediately with soap and water. Be sure to report the bite immediately to local animal control, seek medical care, and call the New Mexico Department of Health (24/7) at 505-827-0006 for about receiving rabies exposure protective vaccination.
- If you see a sick or dead wild animal, or a wild animal acting abnormally in this area, report it to New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 505-476-8000.
For more information about rabies call the Reporting & Surveillance hotline at 505-827-0006 or visit the Rabies section of our website.