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Windsor Bobcat Tests Positive for Rabies

The Vermont Departments of Fish and Wildlife and Health report the bobcat that bit a man in Windsor last Friday has tested positive for rabies.  The individual is receiving post-exposure medical treatment, which, when given promptly, is 100 percent effective at preventing rabies.

Vermont State Game Wardens euthanized the bobcat and transported it to the Department of Health Laboratory to be tested for rabies. 

“I thank our wardens and officers from the Windsor Police Department who responded quickly and professionally to resolve the problem before more people could be bitten,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Christopher Herrick.

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.  The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.  The virus is transmitted only when it is introduced into a bite or scratch wound, open cuts on the skin, or onto mucous membranes like the mouth and eyes.

Cases of rabies are reported annually from across the state in a variety of mammals, most commonly in raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.  This is the first bobcat to test positive for rabies in 2022.  One tested positive in 2021.

Vermonters are reminded to make sure their animals are vaccinated against rabies, and Commissioner Herrick also urged people to not touch or pick up wild or stray animals – including baby animals – or to try to make them into pets.  “Contact with wild or stray animals – no matter how cute and harmless they may appear – can put you or your family at risk,” Herrick said.  “It is not always apparent from looking at it that an animal has rabies, but any animal that is acting strangely or aggressively should be avoided and reported.”

People are urged to call the Vermont Rabies Hotline for information about rabies, or to report any animal which may be sick with the disease at 1-800-4-RABIES (1-800-472-2437).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been working with the Vermont Departments of Health and Fish and Wildlife and the Agency of Agriculture to stop the spread of raccoon rabies, the most common variant of rabies in Vermont.

Learn more about rabies in Vermont: