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WELD COUNTY, Colo. – 21 people were exposed to rabies in Weld County after a woman found a baby raccoon in her yard and brought it into her home, the Weld County Department of Public Health said on Monday.

The raccoon later tested positive for rabies, making it the largest rabies exposure case in Weld County, officials said.

Everyone who was exposed has started receiving rabies treatment.

“This looks like a year for high rabies exposure in animals,” said Mark E. Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department. “It is very important that people not touch or go near wild animals.”

Weld County officials said to follow these three tips to prevent exposure to rabies:

  • Leave orphaned animals alone. Baby animals often appear to be orphaned when they are not.  The parent animal may not return if people are too close.
  • Do not feed, touch or handle wild animals and be cautious of stray dogs and cats
  • Have dogs, cats, horses, and livestock vaccinated regularly by a licensed veterinarian