(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) is reminding the community to be safe and get checked immediately if injured by a wild animal for World Rabies Day.

According to CDPHE, those who have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal should contact their health care provider and local public health department immediately. Rabies is usually fatal in humans once symptoms appear, states CDPHE.

Pets that have been in contact with wild animals such as skunks, bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and other animals should be reported to a veterinarian. You can detect rabies in an animal from its behavior. CDPHE says animals may act more aggressively or more tame than usual.

“Rabid animals may stagger, tremble, or seem weak,” states CDPHE. “Rabid animals may appear agitated and excited or paralyzed and frightened.”

Bats with rabies may be found on the ground, struggling to fly. CDPHE also says that a wild animals that does not run away when approached may be sick or injured. To report animals acting strangely, contact your local health department. The only way to test for rabies in an animals is to test the brain, according to CDPHE.

Bats and skunks are the main sources of rabies in Colorado, according to CDPHE. Domestic animals such as dogs, cats, cattle and horses can become infected from being bitten by a rabid animal. The disease is rarely spread from infected saliva getting into eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound, states CDPHE.

Here are ways to protect you and your family from rabies:

  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals. Not all rabid animals will appear vicious.
  • Make sure your child tells someone if an animal bites them or scratches them.
  • Prevent attracting wildlife to your residence by never leaving pet food outside and feeding your pets indoors.
  • Vaccinate your pets and livestock. Keep vaccinations up-to-date.
  • Never trap and relocate wildlife. It is illegal to do so without a permit or other approval.