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A horse got rabies in North Carolina and investigators are trying to figure out how it contracted the fatal disease
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A horse got rabies in North Carolina and investigators are trying to figure out how it contracted the fatal disease

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Any mammal can get rabies, including people. So what is it and how is it transmitted?

CHERRYVILLE — Investigators in North Carolina are trying to figure out how a horse contracted rabies.

The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday that rabies in horses is uncommon in the United States.

The rabid horse was at a farm in Cherryville in Gaston County, which is about 30 miles northwest of Charlotte.

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The infection was discovered by a veterinarian who was treating “a sick horse” last week.

“The veterinarian detailed the sick horse was showing signs of rabies,” county police said. “The horse died and was sent to Griffin Animal Disease Lab Monroe ... The horse specimen tested positive for rabies.”

The farm's other horses are being given a rabies vaccination and are being observed.

There are about 30 to 60 rabies cases among horses each year in the United States, according to a University of Kentucky report. The country sees nearly 7,000 rabies cases annually overall.

The rabies virus attacks the nervous system and can be spread through fluids that include saliva and blood. Symptoms can include aggressiveness, an inclination to bite and excessive drool or “foaming at the mouth."

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