ST. PAUL — An Otter Tail County kitten that bit three people earlier this month tested positive for rabies, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health confirmed Friday, Nov. 15.
The kitten bit the owner of the farm where it was was being fed, as well as the owner's 4-year-old son and pregnant sister. It was then euthanized and turned over to the board for a rabies test, the results of which were verified earlier this week.
A spokesperson for the board said Friday that the farm is situated in the eastern part of the county, but that state agricultural privacy laws prevent the agency from disclosing a more specific location. In a news release, the board said that the owner of the farm found the 6-month-old kitten fighting off a skunk the morning of Oct. 16.
After she separated the two, the owner saw that the kitten had been scratched and was bleeding from one of its rear legs. It bit her and her other family members several weeks later. All three were recommended for treatment by the state Department of Health.
According to the release, the board is still working to determine if the other animals on the farm — including a horse, two vaccinated dogs, nine unvaccinated cats and beef cattle— were exposed to the virus.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, skunks, bats, foxes and raccoons are all common carriers of the rabies virus, which affects the central nervous system. Though preventable, it can be fatal in humans if left untreated.