10/11/2013 5:17:00 PM Bobcat attacks two hunters near Prescott Valley, tests positive for rabies
Courtesy Arizona Game and Fish A bobcat like this one attacked two hunters Thursday afternoon near Prescott Valley. It later tested positive for rabies.
Heidi Dahms-Foster Special to the Tribune
A bobcat that attacked two quail hunters Thursday afternoon near Prescott Valley has tested positive for rabies, Yavapai County Health officials said Friday afternoon.
Arizona Game and Fish Public Information Officer Zen Mocarski reported that the two hunters suffered multiple injuries when an adult male bobcat attacked them after they stopped to open a gate while hunting near Coyote Springs subdivision.
The men spotted the bobcat under some bushes, and saw it run under their truck. When one of them looked underneath the truck, the bobcat attacked, causing deep lacerations, punctures, and scratches to the man's back, shoulders, arms, and chest, Mocarski said. The man's hunting companion tried to rescue him, and the animal also attacked him, causing less severe injuries. One of the men then shot and killed the bobcat.
The two drove to Yavapai Regional Medical Center with the bobcat. Mocarski said hospital personnel immediately treated both men for exposure to rabies. A Game and Fish wildlife manager picked up the bobcat and took it to the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory for testing. Results released about 4:30 p.m. Friday showed the animal was rabid.
This is the second exposure in Yavapai County in 2013, Mocarski said. The first, in early January, was a fox that bit a 14-year-old girl on the heel and ankle in Sedona.
Yavapai County Health Services information states that rabies is an infectious disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. People and unvaccinated animals may get rabies from the bite of an infected animal, or if saliva from the animal gets directly into a person or animal's eyes, nose, mouth or any break in the skin. Rabies vaccine is given to individuals after exposure to an infected animal to prevent the disease. Rabies is nearly always fatal if not treated after exposure resulting in an infection.
"Due to increased incidences of rabies in Yavapai County, extra precautions must be taken when enjoying outdoor activities, or when in the presence of wild animals," said Stephen Tullos, health officer for Yavapai County. "Wild animals such as foxes, skunks, bobcats and coyotes are more likely than domestic animals to be infected with rabies. But domestic animals such as cats, dogs, ferrets, and horses can also become infected if they are not properly vaccinated."
Mocarski said people should not approach any wild animals and residents should keep watch for any unusual behavior from wildlife, such as lethargy, no fear of humans, being overly aggressive, or nocturnal animals being overly active during the day. He urged people to make sure their pets are current on their rabies vaccinations. Those witnessing abnormal behavior should contact Game and Fish or local animal control, he said.
For more information on rabies in Arizona, visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website at http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/vector/rabies/index.htm