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State Department of Health identifies five rabid animals in southwestern New Mexico

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SANTA FE — The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed rabies in five wildlife animals recovered from southwestern New Mexico. The five rabid animals were reported at or near a residence and acted aggressively towards people, according to the NMDOH.

Rabid animals include a fox and a bobcat, both in the reservation preservation areas, a bobcat near Mimbres in Grant County, a Kingston area fox 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 transmitted to people or other animals through a bite,” said state public health veterinarian Tim Hanosh. “Any person or animal that comes into contact with the saliva of a rabid animal may also be at risk of contracting rabies and should seek medical attention immediately.”

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How to protect pets and animals from rabies

Avoiding contact with wild animals is the surest way to protect family members, pets and livestock from exposure to disease. In addition, all dogs, cats and horses must be vaccinated against rabies. Livestock owners are advised to follow the advice provided by their veterinarian regarding the vaccination of their animals.

Keep pets under observation when outside, avoid leaving pet food or leftovers outside, keep your outdoor trash cans tightly closed, and alert the authorities listed below if you see behaving wild animals are essential to help prevent the spread of rabies.

“Our conservation officers have been trained to safely capture and retain wild animals,” recalls Game and Fish Field Operations Colonel Tim Cimbal. “They have appropriate equipment and supplies to handle wild mammals.”

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

Wild animals acting strangely, especially foxes, bobcats, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and bats can be reported to the Department of Game and Fisheries by calling 505-476-8000 or after hours of operation, 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 southwestern New Mexico counties

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