Five people are being treated for rabies after being exposed to a cow the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said was carrying the disease.
In a news release Friday, the sheriff’s office said they discovered the 10-year-old, unvaccinated cow had tested positive for rabies after its owners noticed it was choking or having other breathing problems. The two owners, two assistants and a veterinarian were all exposed to the saliva of the cow as they tried to save it.
After the cow died, its remains were sent to the state for rabies testing, according to the sheriff’s office. The five people who were exposed have received and will continue to undergo rabies treatment. The remaining herd of 39 cows has been quarantined and vaccinated.
Authorities said they believe the cow was exposed to a rabid skunk that transmitted the disease, but that further testing is still ongoing.
The cattle owner, veterinarian, state authorities and Cooke County Sheriff’s Office are working to together to contain the exposure, according to the release. The sheriff’s office is asking all animal owners to have their pets and livestock vaccinated against rabies.