The Texas Department of State Health Services is notifying people who visited the cattle barn at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Feb. 11-14 that they may need to be assessed for a possible rabies exposure. A cow in the cattle barn developed rabies and was capable of spreading the virus that causes it during those dates. The solid black cow, a Brangus heifer, was being shown by a student from the Miller Grove ISD in Hopkins County.
The cow was only outside of the barn while being shown and loaded and unloaded for transport. Public health officials have been in contact with the people who were caring for the cow and the animals in nearby stalls, so their risk can be assessed.
Rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Anyone who put their hand in the cow’s mouth or nose or had contact between the animal’s saliva and an open wound or mucous membrane like the eyes, nose or mouth should be evaluated for a rabies exposure. Someone in that situation should contact their health care provider as soon as possible and explain the situation. People who didn’t have that kind of contact with the cow are not at risk of contracting the disease.
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.
Bexar County residents who visited the cattle barn on those dates and have questions may contact the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District at 210-207-8876. People who live elsewhere may contact their DSHS regional Zoonosis Control office. Maps of the fairgrounds and the cattle barn with the location of the stall marked in red are available below.