BISBEE, Ariz. — Officials in Cochise County are warning residents to vaccinate their pets and stay away from stray and wild animals because of a widespread rabies outbreak.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said Friday that several rabid skunks have been discovered in south Sierra Vista in the past month and rabid foxes found near Willcox.

Capas says a Friday report of a confirmed rabid skunk in old Bisbee is even more concerning. That’s because that part of town is densely populated and there are lots of feral cats that people feed. Cats can catch rabies from skunks and if they then scratch a human the person can be infected.

Rabies is always fatal once symptoms appear. The Arizona Department of Health Services says prompt treatment after potential exposure prevents the disease from developing.