A skunk discovered in northwest Pulaski County near Maumelle has tested positive for rabies, the Arkansas Department of Health confirmed Friday.
While it's the state's 41st case of rabies this year, it's Pulaski County's first case found in an land animal since 1980, the department said in a news release.
Arkansas typically averages around 47 rabies cases per year, though the state nearly tripled the average last year with 131 reported cases.
The rabies virus is a fatal disease that affects the spinal cord and brain. It lives in the saliva and nervous tissues of affected animals and can be spread through a bite or a scratch.
The disease is commonly found in skunks, bats and foxes, as well as more domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, horses and livestock.
The department recommends vaccinating pets to prevent spread of the disease to household animals. Arkansas requires all household dogs and cats to be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian.
Source: Arkansas Department of Health