Possible feline exposure to rabies positive bat in Pipestone County

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The following situation underscores the importance of strong Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationships and reminding people of the proactive role routine vaccinations play in protecting an animal’s health. All dogs, cat, ferrets, and horses should be currently vaccinated against the rabes virus. In the event an animal is exposed or potentially exposed, pets should receive a rabies vaccination booster within 96 hours of exposure.

A Pipestone County resident reported a dead bat on their front steps on May 16, 2022. A local veterinarian collected the bat and brought it to the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Laboratory in Brookings for rabies screening. SDSU reported the bat tested positive for rabies on May 18.

The Minnesota Department of Health interviewed the Pipestone County resident and determined minimal human health risk so post-exposure prophylaxis was not recommended for anyone involved.

Two unvaccinated cats lived on the property and both were described as avid hunters. A veterinarian vaccinated the cats against rabies and a Board of Animal Health agent investigated the situation to make appropriate recommendations for the cats. The owner can either quarantine the cats for 180 days or have them euthanized because of the high transmission risk of rabies among unvaccinated animals.

Visit the Board’s rabies webpage to review background on the virus, prevention measures, what do do if an animal is exposed, and to see a map of year-to-date positive cases in Minnesota. This is the first positive rabies case reported in Pipestone County since March 2020.

Concerned about rabies exposure to a domestic animal? Call 651-201-6808.

Questions about rabies exposure in people? Please contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-5414.