June 20, 2018

Arizona Health Officials Warn About Rise in Rabies

Most animals were found in rural areas, principally skunks and foxes.

Rabid Fox Saguaro National Park This photo distributed by Arizona Game and Fish shows a possibly rabid fox that injured three people in Saguaro National Park East on Feb. 13, 2018. (PHOTO: Arizona Game and Fish)

PHOENIX — Arizona health authorities are warning residents about a rise in animal rabies cases statewide.

The Arizona Department of Health Services said Tuesday there had been 77 cases reported in the first five months of the year, compared with 54 during the same period in 2017.

Most of the animals identified with the disease were in rural areas, and the bulk of them were skunks and foxes. State health officials say they also expect an increase in rabid bats is expected as the weather gets warmer.

Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, says pets should be kept on a leash and vaccinated against rabies, and people and pets should not interact with wild animals in rural areas.

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