Rabid bobcat killed near Pima/Pinal county line prompts warning - Tucson News Now

Rabid bobcat killed near Pima/Pinal county line prompts warning

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Southern Arizonans are asked to be mindful of encounters with wildlife, especially those that do not go out of their way to avoid people. 

A recent case in rural Pima County is serving as an important reminder. On Thursday, July 20, the Pima County Animal Care and Health Department were notified a bobcat tested positive for rabies. 

“This incident was isolated to a rural part of Pima County where it is highly unlikely that the bobcat had contact with anyone other than this person and their pets,” Kristen Auerbach, Director of the Pima Animal Care Center, said in the release. “We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone who spends time outdoors to do their best to avoid wildlife they may encounter.” 

According to the news release the bobcat had been killed last week by a pet owner who had been defending his pets in a rural area along the Pima and Pinal County border just northeast of Mount Lemmon. The person who was exposed has been notified and appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of the owner and his pets. 

The most common animals in southern Arizona that test positive for rabies are bats, skunks, and foxes. It is unusual for them to voluntarily approach or interact with people or their pets. Animals with rabies may be more likely to approach or even attack a person or their pets due to the virus and the affect it has on them. 

People and pets can get rabies from direct physical contact via a bite or scratch from an infected animal. Rabies is a virus and is transmitted through the saliva of the infected animal. It may take weeks or even years for people to show symptoms after being infected. However, once someone starts developing symptoms, that person will not survive, which is why rabies exposures are taken so seriously.

Officials recommend taking the following steps to help people reduce the risk of rabies exposure when outdoors:

  • Do not approach wild animals. Wild animals with rabies may seem unafraid of people. It's not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away from any animal that seems unafraid.
  • Talk to your children about avoiding unknown or wild animals. Children should tell an adult right away and the adult should call Pima Animal Care Center at (520) 724-5900.
  • Protect your pets.  If your cat or dog is not current on their rabies vaccinations, be sure to vaccinate them as soon as possible.
  • If you see an animal acting oddly or on the ground, do not touch it. Stay away and immediately call the Pima Animal Care Center at (520) 724-5900.
  • If you have contact with an unknown animal, especially a wild animal, call the Health Department help line at 520-724-7797. 

More information can be found at www.pima.gov/health and updates will be available on the Pima County Health Department and Pima Animal Care Center Facebook pages.

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