Santa Cruz County has issued an emergency rabies quarantine, after confirming rabies infection in 24 skunks and 4 bats since November 2013. The quarantine enforces pet leash laws, encourages rabies vaccination and discourages interaction with wild animals.
No human rabies cases have been reported in Arizona in more than 30 years. There is no known cure for rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms occur. The Pima County Health Department and its rabies enforcement/prevention division, Pima Animal Care Center, encourages residents to take the threat seriously, particularly given the significant number of cases identified in our neighboring county.
Most case of rabies will occur in skunks, bats and other wild life (bobcats, coyotes, javelinas, foxes, etc.). However, domestic and farm animals including, dogs, cats, and livestock that come in contact with wildlife can also become infected.
The best protection against rabies, for you and your pet, is to avoid the risk in the first place:
Keep current with your pet’s rabies vaccination.
- Vaccinated pets that are exposed will need a booster rabies vaccination
Avoid direct contact with wildlife.
- Unvaccinated or under-vaccinated pets face either a minimum of 6 months of a costly quarantine or euthanasia
- The most important step for you and your pet is to avoid any direct physical contact
- Avoid animals that display unusual behavior such as, typically nocturnal animals that are active in the daytime or that don’t avoid human contact
If you see a bat or other wild animal that is sick, do not pick it up or try to help. Notify Arizona Fish and Game (520) 628-5376 or Pima Animal Care Center (520) 243-5900.
For 2013, Pima County had 33 laboratory confirmed rabies cases in wild animals. This is significantly less than in 2009 when the number of confirmed cases was 86 for Pima County.
Every year, approximately 30 people are exposed to rabid animals in Arizona, requiring treatment to prevent infection. In the case of potential human exposure, please call the Health Department’s Disease Line at (520)243-7800.