In North Dakota (USA) 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 mid-western USA. This case of a rabid bison was one of only four such instances recorded from the USA over the past 40 yr, and is the first case report of rabies in a bison that reports clinical, pathologic, 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.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1