A large number of rabies cases in Santa Cruz County, Arizona has lead to the rare practice of implementing a county-wide rabies quarantine. Fifty-four cases of rabies have been diagnosed so far this year, mainly in skunks. That’s about twice as many as normal.
Quarantine is probably not the best description of what they are doing, but they are taking measures to improve vaccination of pets, reduce roaming pets and discourage human-wildlife interaction.
For the next 60 days, the following rules are in place:
- Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Dogs must be confined to the property or on a leash.
- People are not allowed to feed wild animals.
- Pet food must not be left outdoors after sundown.
Those are all pretty standard measures that should be used anytime. It sounds like these rules already exist in Santa Cruz County but their "quarantine" means that they will be aggressive in enforcing them. Increasing enforcement is a good idea, but ongoing efforts after this quarantine period are also needed because rabies will continue to be a risk in that area.
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