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Kitten tests positive for rabies after biting 3 people in Otter Tail County

(St. Paul, MN) – A kitten that bit three people in western Minnesota, including a child and a pregnant woman, tested positive for rabies.

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health said in a press release the owner of a farm in Otter Tail County heard a commotion on her front porch on October 16.  The woman says she saw a skunk attacking an approximately 6-month-old kitten.  The woman separated the two animals and noticed bite marks and blood on the kitten’s rear leg.

In early November, the farm owner, her 4-year-old son, and her pregnant sister were bitten by the kitten.  The animal was euthanized and submitted for rabies testing.

Results reported on November 12 confirmed the kitten was infected with the rabies virus.

The Board of Animal Health is completing an investigation to determine if any domestic animals on the farm – including two rabies-vaccinated dogs, nine unvaccinated cats, beef cattle, and a horse – have been exposed to the virus.

A human exposure investigation determined five people may have been exposed to the rabies virus.

“Minnesota skunks have a very high probability of carrying the rabies virus,” said Board of Animal Health Senior Veterinarian Dr. Courtney Wheeler.  “Anyone who observes a pet or livestock interacting with a skunk should contact their veterinarian and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health for recommendations.”

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