Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced Thursday that eight wild animals have been found carrying rabies across the mountainous state so far this year.

According to the official press release, three of the state’s eight positives cases were discovered in Larimer County, including two skunks and one mountain lion that recently attacked multiple people. The reported number of county cases is said to be consistent with previous years in March.

“Rabies is regularly found in Colorado wildlife, especially skunks and bats. Interaction between humans and wild animals, particularly bats, skunks, foxes, and raccoons, increases the risk of rabies exposure to pets and people,” said Dr. Jennifer House, Colorado state public health veterinarian.

RELATED: Rabies found in mountain lion that attacked multiple people in Colorado

Rabies is a viral disease that causes fatal brain swelling. It is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected animals, but can also be passed through infected saliva that gets into open wounds or the eyes, nose or mouth.

Rabid skunks, for example, are often found circling, behaving aggressively, seizing, stumbling, and vocalizing. They are also seen being active during the daytime, even though they are nocturnal. These are all signs of a possible rabies infection.

It’s also important to mention that there are many more rabid animals in the state that never get tested. Other signs of rabid wildlife include trouble walking, flying, eating, or drinking.

Editor’s note: Do not ever approach or handle wild animals. If you see an animal that appears to be sick, orphaned, or acting strangely, please report it to your local CPW office. For a list of ​region and area offices, click here.

If you or your pets have had any direct contact with wildlife in Larimer County, contact the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) at 970-498-6775. Otherwise, please contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) at 303-692-2700.

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