A mountain lion that attacked a resident and Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputy in Loveland, Colorado on Wednesday has tested positive for rabies.

The attack occurred at about 1:55 PM Wednesday, March 11, near the Riverview RV Park along the Big Thompson River, just west of Loveland. Deputies from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, rangers from Larimer County Natural Resources and CPW wildlife officers responded to the scene of the attack.

According to an official press release, a man and a delivery driver were talking outside a home when the mountain lion first attacked. The 91-pound mountain lion then lounged at a responding deputy, scratching and inflicting wounds on her. Shots fired chased off the lion, which was eventually tracked down and shot dead by a wildlife officer. Part of the attack was captured on video.

Both bite victims were transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance with injuries. While it is unknown how the lion contracted rabies, a mild skunk odor was reported following a necropsy.

In Colorado, bat and skunk bites are the most common source of rabies. The viral disease can be transmitted when an infected animal bites, scratches, or comes in contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth through saliva. Without proper and immediate treatment, it can be deadly.

Wednesday’s attack in Loveland is the 23rd recorded mountain lion attack on humans in the state since 1990. Three attacks occurred in 2019, including an 8-year-old attacked outside his home and a trail runner who survived by killing the mountain lion with his bare hands. A hunter was also attacked, fending off the lion with a knife.

Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal should contact their health care provider and their local public health department immediately.

Editor’s Note: Do not ever turn your back or run away from a mountain lion. If you run, you may trigger a chase. If you encounter a mountain lion on the trail, at a campsite, or anywhere else in the wild, keep calm and back away slowly. Stand tall, make noise, and appear as big as possible. If attacked, be ready to fight back. To report a mountain lion sighting in your area, please contact your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office. For a list of regional and area offices, click here.

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