SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed rabies in five wild animals recovered in southwest New Mexico. All five of the rabid animals were reported at or near a residence and acted aggressively toward people, according to the NMDOH.

The rabid animals include a fox and a bobcat both in reserve preservation land areas, a bobcat near Mimbres in Grant County, a fox from the Kingston area in Sierra County, and a fox near Datil in Catron County.

“Rabies is a deadly viral disease that can be prevented, but not cured. The virus lives in the saliva of rabid animals and is spread to people or other animals through a bite,” said Tim Hanosh, state public health veterinarian. “Any person or animal who comes in contact with saliva from a rabid animal can be at risk of getting rabies too and should seek medical treatment immediately.”

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How to protect pets and animals from rabies

Avoiding contact with wild animals is the surest way of protecting family members, pets, and livestock from being exposed to the disease. In addition, all dogs, cats, and horses should be vaccinated against rabies. Livestock owners are advised to follow guidance provided by their veterinarian regarding vaccinating their animals.

Keeping pets under observation when outdoors, avoiding leaving any pet food or scraps outside, keeping your outdoor garbage cans tightly sealed, and alerting the authorities listed below if you see any abnormally acting wildlife are essential to helping prevent rabies from spreading.

“Our conservation officers have been trained to safely capture and restrain wild animals,” reminds Tim Cimbal, colonel of Game and Fish field operations. “They have appropriate equipment and supplies to handle wild mammals.”

Any physical contact with wild mammals should be immediately reported to the NMDOH and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Wildlife acting oddly, especially foxes, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, and bats can be reported to the Department of Game and Fish by calling 505-476-8000 or after business hours call the New Mexico State Police non-emergency phone number 505-841-9256. The public should immediately call the New Mexico Department of Health at 505-827-0006 anytime, day or night, including weekends and holidays, if they or their pets are bitten or otherwise exposed to the saliva of wild animals.

This article originally appeared on Silver City Sun-News: NMDOH identifies five rabid animals in southwest New Mexico counties

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