Second Domestic Animal in Illinois Dies of Rabies

The Illinois Department of Agriculture's animal disease lab in Galesburg has confirmed that a cow owned by an eastern Bureau County resident tested positive for rabies on Jan. 13, the second domestic animal to be euthanized due to this disease in Illinois since December. The state departments of Public Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources have reminded Illinois citizens to stay away from wild animals that may be carrying the rabies virus.

Last month, a horse in LaSalle County tested positive for a skunk strain of rabies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested the cow's brain and it was determined on Jan. 21 that the cow was infected with a skunk strain of rabies. There were two possible sites of rabies exposure for the cow. It was purchased in LaSalle county and grazed in fields just inside the county line of west central LaSalle County. Seven people have been treated with rabies preventative treatment following exposure to the cow.

Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. State veterinarian Mark Ernst, DVM, said it is important to make sure that horses and other livestock are vaccinated against rabies.

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