Rabies Alert:
Benton County cow tests positive for rabies virus

On November 27, a farm owner in Benton County noticed one of his beef cows was not eating well, salivating, and bellowing. The cow went down in the pasture on December 2 and was having difficulty moving. The owner said the cow appeared to be a little better the following day, and then declined further and was found dead on December 5, eight days from when she started showing clinical signs of rabies.

This is the 54th case of rabies in Minnesota animals this year and the sixth case in Benton County. Four head of cattle tested positive, along with two cats, a horse, a fox, 10 skunks, and 36 bats. Benton County has more rabies cases in 2016 than any other county outside of the metro area (Ramsey County has eight bat cases and Hennepin County has seven bat cases this year).

The veterinarians and veterinary technicians involved in this case all took proper precautions and wore gloves during the exam of the animal and later while collecting the head for rabies test submission. Additionally, they were all pre-exposure vaccinated against the rabies virus. The Minnesota Department of Health did not advise post-exposure prophylaxis for any of the veterinary staff or for the farm owner, who did not touch the cow.

For information on rabies in animals and to view a map of positive cases in Minnesota, visit the Board’s website and click on ‘Rabies’ under ‘Programs’ at the top of the page. Have questions about rabies exposure to domestic animals? Call 651-201-6808. If you have questions on rabies in people, please contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.