All puppies accounted for in recent rabies case

This article submitted on 11/29/00.

State health officials have now accounted for all of the puppies that raised concerns about possible human rabies exposure after they were offered for adoption at two west central Minnesota flea market events in late October.

Officials at the Minnesota Department of Health have now located a puppy that was given away at the Oct. 22 flea market in Monticello. Another puppy, now presumed dead, had earlier wandered away from the original owner's property, before it could be offered for adoption.

Seven other puppies from the same litter had previously been accounted for.

One of the puppies tested positive for rabies on Nov. 14, after being adopted from a flea market in the Litchfield area on Oct. 21. Two of the other six puppies had been kept by the original owner, two more placed with a neighbor, and another given away at the Litchfield flea market. Another puppy was given away earlier in the month at a Litchfield convenience store.

Seven puppies have been tested for rabies, and only the puppy tested on Nov. 14 was positive.

The eighth puppy, found on Nov. 20, isn't showing any symptoms of rabies. That means that it wouldn't have been infectious when it was offered for adoption at the Litchfield and Monticello flea markets, according to health officials.

Because all of the puppies at the Monticello event have tested negative for rabies, officials now believe that people who had contact with the puppies at the Monticello flea market were not at risk of rabies exposure.

Approximately 28 people are now receiving preventative treatment for rabies, and that may make it possible for at least some of them to discontinue the shots.

However, officials emphasize that the puppy located yesterday could have become infectious at some point after Oct. 22, meaning that people who had contact with the puppy more recently could still be at risk for rabies exposure.

Test results are still inconclusive for the mother of the puppies, who was found dead on Oct. 21 and later exhumed for testing.

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