The state of Colorado has seen what’s been described as an “unprecedented” increase in rabid skunks.
So far in 2018, 23 skunks have tested positive for rabies across El Paso County, with similar problems elsewhere in the state, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
Denver has seen 45 rabid skunks this year, the newspaper reported.
“It's kind of a cyclic thing that occurs; we happen to be in an up-cycle," Robyn Weber, an El Paso County Public Health epidemiologist, told the newspaper. “One of the big concerns is that we have a lot of people and a lot of pets in these areas where we're testing positive.”
Warmer-than-average winter weather and a rising skunk population in the state are considered to be factors, state and county health officials say.
They advise pet owners to vaccinate their animals and to report any encounters with creatures that might be rabid.
The spread of rabies has arrived ahead of Colorado’s typical rabies season, which runs from April through October – when bats travel to the state from Central America.