Rabies Testing, Animal Bites and Rabies Risk - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Rabies Testing
Animal Bites and Rabies Risk:
A Guide for Health Professionals

On this page:
Guidelines for submitting suspect animals for rabies testing
Laboratory testing, result reporting, and positive result follow-up
Rabies testing in humans

Guidelines for submitting suspect animals for rabies testing

  • The only test for rabies in animals that may be used to guide human rabies risk analysis is the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test.
    • There is no live animal test for rabies.
    • The animal’s brain, specifically the entire section of the cerebellum, hippocampus, and brainstem are required to perform the DFA test.
    • The brain must be relatively fresh and in good condition, as the test cannot be done reliably if the different regions of the brain are not discernable.
  • The Rabies Specimen Submission Form provides complete instructions on specimen handling and submission.

Laboratory testing, result reporting, and positive result follow-up

  • There is a $20.00 fee per animal and a $10.00 fee per accession payable to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) for rabies testing by the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test. Multiple animals submitted from a related situation (bats from one location, litter of kittens, etc.) will be charged one accession fee. Please add 10% for out-of-state specimens.
  • Results for specimens received at the VDL before 11:00 a.m. will be available the next business day by 2 p.m. Results for specimens received after 11:00 a.m. will be available in two business days.
  • Expedited testing is available in emergency situations. Healthcare providers, veterinarians, public health or law enforcement may contact MDH Epidemiology at 651-201-5414 to discuss the need for an expedited test.
  • Positive rabies reports are telephoned immediately to the veterinarian, healthcare provider, or other submitter listed on the Rabies Specimen Submission Form.
  • Positive test results are reported to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
  • Situations involving laboratory-confirmed rabies positive animals are investigated, evaluated, and managed by MDH epidemiologists and BAH veterinarians.
  • Negative rabies reports are mailed or faxed to the submitter within 1 business day of completion of the test.

Rabies testing in humans

  • Testing for diagnosis of rabies in humans is performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please telephone the MDH Zoonotic Diseases Unit at 651-201-5414 for assistance with human rabies specimen submission and testing.

Updated Monday, 09-Apr-2018 11:12:38 CDT