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Saturday, April 18, 2009


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 17 Apr 2009
Source: Salisbury Post [edited]

Calf dies after exposure to rabies
A calf on a farm in Gold Hill has died as a result of exposure to
rabies. The diagnosis was made after the calf's owner sent the body
of the animal to a lab in Raleigh for a necropsy. It died last week
[week of 6-10 Apr 2009].

The owner said he has been involved in the raising of cattle for
about 50 years, and this is the 1st time one of his animals has
contracted rabies. He said someone saw a skunk in one of his pastures
last month, and said he thinks the female calf may have contracted
rabies from that animal. "They say they're real bad about carrying
diseases," he said of skunks.

He raises about 15 head of cattle on his farm on Spring Lake Lane. He
admitted that anything he knows about rabies and cattle, he's learned
only since his calf died. "I'm not very familiar with it, and I wish
I wasn't this familiar," he said. "I'd never crossed this bridge
before." He said the diseased calf was only about 2 or 3 months old.
He said most of his cattle are registered and said the calf would
have been registered had it lived.

The calf's owner said that when one of his heads of cattle undergoes
a necropsy, the result typically reveals the animal died of pneumonia
or some similar ailment. It is almost impossible, he said, to know
what killed a head of cattle without a necropsy.

Fran Pepper of Rowan County Animal Control agreed. She said even when
an animal has rabies, there are no sure signs of the disease. "Rabies
doesn't exhibit the same symptoms," Pepper said. "Some will walk the
fence line and bellow and some won't. There's really no tell-tale
signs of the disease." She said that while this is the 1st case of
rabies being diagnosed in cattle in Rowan County this year, it's not
that unusual. Pepper said there have been several instances of rabies
being diagnosed in cattle elsewhere in the state this year.

This was the 5th case of rabies reported in Rowan County this year.
The calf's owner and his wife are undergoing post-exposure rabies
shots due to their handling of the calf just prior to its death.

[Byline: Steve Huffman]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[To find North Carolina, go to:

Gold Hill, Rowan County (there are 3 places by this name in North Carolina):

- Mod.MHJ]

[See also:
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure - USA (02): (NC, GA) 20090410.1378
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure - USA: (NC, GA) 20090409.1364
Rabies, skunk - USA (02): (NC) 20081122.3692
Rabies, human, animal - USA (FL, NC, SC) 20070529.1722
Rabies, canine, human post exposure treatment - USA (NC) 20070104.0040
Rabies, canines, raccoons - USA (NC) 20060406.1038
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NC)(02) 20040323.0811
Rabies, raccoon - USA (NC) 20040308.0658]

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