Skunks prompt rabies concern in Carlsbad

CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico county plagued by a major rabies outbreak in 2012 is now warning residents 2014 could be worse.

In just the last week, Carlsbad Animal Control officers have responded to seven separate sightings of what they suspect are rabid skunks on the east side of Eddy County.

“It’s a little bit unusual that we see so many in an isolated area,” said Carlsbad Police Lt. Jennifer Moyers.

Moyers said all of the skunks have been reported in a 10 block radius near the Hall Edition.

Robert Melendrez lives in the area.

“That’s a lot of concern. They could be right there in my alley,” said Melendrez.

Officers are awaiting lab results to find out if the skunks have rabies.

They say by their conditions when they caught the animals, there’s a good chance they’ll test positive.

In 2012, there were 48 confirmed rabies cases in New Mexico, 41 of them were in Eddy County.

Luckily no humans died from the virus, but a majority of pets that came in contact with the rabid animals did.

Based on what officers have seen with the skunks this week, they say there’s concern this year could be comparable.

Residents are hoping the skunks stay away from their pets.

“They could die,” said Melendrez. “Yeah, I have concern about that. You know the dogs, everything and all the people around here you know.”

Officers say at least one skunk came in contact with 15 feral cats Wednesday.

If the skunk tests positive for the disease, officers will try and round up the feral cat so they don’t spread the virus.

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