A rabies infected skunk has been found in Catalina State Park.
The skunk was found in the middle of a trail earlier this week, according to a Pima County release, it was captured by park rangers and brought in for testing, results came back positive for rabies.
Park Rangers are unsure if any people or pets have had contact with the animal, or how long it has been in the area. When the skunk was found there were several people and their pets around the animal, Park officials stated.
Rabies is considered a life-threatening disease, caused by the rabies virus; humans can contract the disease via a bite, scratch or other direct physical contact with saliva or secretion from an infected animal. Symptoms could take from a few weeks to a few years to show.
For those who have been in Catalina State Park and have had contact with a skunk or other wildlife in the area, they are asked to call the Pima County Health Department (520) 243-7797 immediately for risk assessment and recommendations to prevent infection.
The best prevention for rabies though is to avoid contact with infected animals. Animals in Southern Arizona that are most prone to rabies are skunks and bats, though other wildlife can become infected. Park officials warn visitors to be aware of unusual behavior in wildlife, such as nocturnal animals out during the day, animals that seem to have lost their fear of man, or appear to have a paralysis of their limbs.
In 2013 eight skunks in the Catalina State Park area tested positive for rabies.
Visitors are reminded as well if they see a skunk, bat or any other wildlife on the ground, which appear sick – do not touch it. Contact the Pima Animal Care Center at (520)243-5900 or the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (800)352-0700.
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