Health Officials: Cow Dies of Rabies in Madison County

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Arkansas health officials have confirmed a cow died of rabies last week near Kingston in Madison County.

Reports of rabies in cattle are uncommon, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. It’s the first case reported in 2013 in Arkansas.

Rabies is most often found in skunks. So far this year 14 skunks and one dog have tested positive for rabies, according to the ADH.

Health officials believe the cow got infected from a rabid skunk bite.

Rabies is not transmitted to people through cooked beef or pasteurized milk. Pasteurization and cooking will kill the rabies virus, a release from the ADH states.

Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord and is a fatal disease.

Arkansas averages 47 rabid animals each year, but in 2012, the amount nearly tripled.

Last year there were 131 rabies positive animals, including 101 skunks, 22 bats, three dogs, one cat, one pony and three cattle.

What can you do to protect yourselves against rabies?

  • Be sure your dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
  • Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals
  • Keep family pets indoors at night
  • Bat-proof your home or summer camp in the fall or winter (The majority of human rabies cases are caused by bat bites.)
  • Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if any animal bites them
  • Teach children to avoid wildlife, strays and all other animals they do not know well