An Otter Tail County kitten tested positive for rabies on November 12. The kitten bit three people, including a 4-year-old child and a pregnant woman.

The owner of the farm where the kitten was fed reported she heard a commotion on her front porch midmorning on October 16. She saw a skunk on the porch attacking an approximately 6-month-old kitten. After separating the kitten and skunk, she recalled seeing blood and bite marks on the kitten’s rear leg.

The farm owner, her 4-year-old son and her pregnant sister were bitten by the kitten in early November. The kitten was then euthanized and submitted for rabies testing. Results were reported on November 12, and the kitten was confirmed to be infected with the rabies virus.

The Board of Animal Health is in the process of completing its investigation to determine the extent of exposure to domestic animals on the farm, which includes two rabies-vaccinated dogs, nine additional unvaccinated cats, beef cattle and a horse.

The Minnesota Department of Health conducted a human exposure investigation and recommended post-exposure prophylaxis for five people who may have been exposed to the rabies virus. Board of Animal Health Vet Courtney Wheeler said skunks have a very high probability of carrying the rabies virus, and anyone who observes a pet or livestock interacting with a skunk should contact their veterinarian for recommendations.


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