Rabies confirmed in animals found in Superstition Mountain area

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PINAL COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Public health officials in Pinal and Maricopa counties said Friday that the Arizona Department of Health Services laboratory has confirmed at least two cases of rabies from animals near the Superstition Mountains. 

The area includes Lost Dutchman State Park, the First Water Trail and the Tonto National Forest. The Superstition Mountains Wilderness Area is a popular hiking and camping destination.

Signs warning hikers and campers have been posted at trailheads and campgrounds. 

"From the reports we have been getting from hikers in the area, it looks like we have an increase of rabies in wild animals," said Pinal County epidemiologist Graham Briggs. "Two of the cases have been confirmed, but park officials have reported seeing dead animals along with aggressive animals on the trails."

Pinal County Animal Care and Control Director Audra Michael said that hikers should be careful when bringing their pets on a hike.

"The first thing is to make sure your pets are properly vaccinated," Michael said. "The other is not to let them roam free while you are hiking, always have them on a leash." 

For more information on rabies, go to www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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