Reprinted from Journal of Wildlife Diseases 96 (1), 2000 pp 169-171.

Rabies in an American Bison from North Dakota


Charles L. Stoltenow1, Kris Solemsaas2, Michael Niezgoda3, Pamela Yager
and Charles E. Rupprecht3.

1Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences, North Dakota State University,
Fargo, ND; 2Pinkerton Animal Hospital, Minot, ND;
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.



In North Dakota, during April 1998, a ranched female bison (Bison bison) was found dead.  At gross necropsy, there was profound hair loss and consolidated lung lobes.  Intracytoplasmic neuronal inclusions suggestive of Negri bodies were observed in the brain stem and hippocampus, and a diagnosis of rabies was confirmed by the fluorescent antibody test.  Antigenic typing demonstrated the occurrence of a rabies virus variant associated with skunks from the upper midwestern USA.  This case of a rabid bison was one of only four such instances recorded from the USA over the past 40 years and is the first case reported of rabies in a bison that reports clinical, pathological, and antigenic findings.  Although rabies in bison is rare, veterinarians and wildlife managers that work closely with such non-traditional species are reminded of the dangers that zoonoses such as rabies present.


Key words: American bison, Bison bison, case report, rabies, zoonoses.

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