There has been a statewide increase in wild animals testing positive for rabies this year. KNAU’s Justin Regan has more.
The state health department confirms 90 cases of rabies so far in 2018. That’s almost a third more than last year at this time. In Coconino County, 14 animals have tested positive, mainly foxes. 3 humans have had confirmed exposure to the disease. Randy Phillips with the Coconino County Health Services District says dry weather might have something to do with increased numbers.
"With the lack of moisture. And water which maybe brings animals closer in to the community and more interaction with each other where rabies could get passed from one animal to another," says Phillips. "And even sometimes not exposure just being observed and noticed more and trapped."
Phillips says people should avoid wild animals, especially those who display unusual behaviors like aggression or nocturnal animals out during the day. Pets should also be kept on leashes and anyone who comes in contact with an animals they suspect might be infected should seek immediate medical attention.