Southwest Animal Care Center

11010 Southwest Highway
Palos Hills, IL 60465


Animal Health Alert

Friday, January 28, 2011


The Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare was notified on 1/27/11 by the Illinois Department of Public Health that a sample submitted from a bull located in Macon county was positive for rabies.  The bull appeared normal just one day before being found down and bellowing.  When an examination was attempted, the animal became aggressive and a decision was made to euthanize the bull. Samples have been submitted to the CDC to determine the strain of virus.  At this point in time, the source of the exposure is unknown.

While state law only requires rabies vaccination of dogs and cats, now would be a good time to discuss vaccination of other animals for which there is an approved vaccine.  In addition, you may want to discuss limiting the opportunities for exposure by reducing potential contact between wildlife and domestic animals.

The last rabies positive domestic animal in Illinois was reported in 2005 in a bovine that had been pastured in both Bureau and LaSalle counties.  In 2004, a horse was confirmed positive in LaSalle County.

Rabies is a reportable disease.  Citizens who see wild or domestic animals with signs of rabies (such as extreme aggression, hypersalivation, changes in behavior, paralysis or other neurologic signs) should ensure they do not approach these animals and should contact their local animal control to report the sighting.  Animal control personnel should safely capture, euthanize and submit these animals for rabies testing.

Please also note that surveillance of skunks for rabies is a critical part of the rabies prevention and control program in Illinois.  Skunks can be submitted for rabies testing regardless if there are any human or domestic animal exposure.  Identification of skunks with rabies can lead to notification of the public about preventative measures and may prevent domestic animal rabies cases and human exposures.  Any wild or domestic animal exhibiting signs consistent with rabies can also be submitted for rabies testing even if there is no human exposure to the animal.


From: Mark J. Ernst D.V.M

State Veterinarian

Illinois Department of Agriculture

Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare