Skunks with rabies in Flagstaff. identified

Health officials are urging locals to beware of the animals after a person has been exposed to the rabies virus.

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona – Flagstaff residents have another reason to avoid skunks aside from their smelly fumes.

Several skunks across the city recently contracted rabies, a virus that causes severe damage to the central nervous system and can be fatal if symptoms occur.

Coconino County Health and Human Services said at least one person has been exposed to a rabies skunk and is receiving medical treatment to suppress the virus.

The county encourages Flagstaff residents to stay away from wildlife and ensure pets have been vaccinated against rabies.

If a local resident finds a dead skunk in their garden, the county orders them to leave the carcass alone and report it to the authorities.

Human exposure to rabies is relatively rare, but dogs and cats are considered to be more susceptible to contracting the virus.

Bats, skunks, and foxes are the top animal sources of rabies in Arizona.

Strange wildlife encounters can be reported to the City of Flagstaff at 928-774-1414.

RELATED: 2 dogs attacked by rabid bobcats in the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation

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