Health officials warn of rabid cow at San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging those who recently visited the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo to go get checked out by a doctor.

According to officials, rodeo visitors could have been exposed to rabies after an animal on the grounds contracted the disease.

A student from Miller Grove ISD in Hopkins County was showing an infected solid black Brangus heifer between Feb. 11-14 that public health officials said was capable of spreading the virus.

The warning states that the cow was only outside of the barn during transportation and while being shown. DHS has been in contact with animal caretakers so they can receive a proper screening for any symptoms of the disease.

Officials from the Houston Livestock and Rodeo released a statement in response to the incident, saying:
"The heifers that were in direct contact with the infected heifer at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo will not be at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Unfortunately, there is no rabies testing available for living animals. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's official veterinarian, Leslie Easterwood, D.V.M., is on-site during the full run of the Show. She and her team will continue to monitor all livestock daily. Additionally, all livestock exhibitors must present official health certificates for each animal signed by a licensed veterinarian before entering the Show's grounds."

Rabies can be spread through the passing of saliva from the infected animal, and DHS encourages those who were in contact with any barn animal's eyes, nose or mouth to be evaluated by a doctor.

"Rabies can be prevented if treatment is started before symptoms begin, however, once symptoms start, it's almost always fatal. It usually takes between three weeks and three months for someone exposed to rabies to get sick," DSHS warns.

Bexar County residents who think they may have been affected or have additional questions may contact the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District at 210-207-8876.
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