Wolf believed to have bitten teen tests negative for rabies

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

A gray wolf that wildlife experts suspect bit a 16-year-old boy during the early hours of Aug. 24 at the U.S. Forest Service West Winnie Campground at Lake Winnibigoshish has tested negative for rabies.

The confirmation was made Wednesday, Aug. 28 by the Minnesota Department of Health laboratory, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The wolf that was tested had been trapped Monday at the campground and sent to the lab for rabies testing.

The agency also reported:

It is premature to say with 100 percent confidence that the wolf that tested negative for rabies is the wolf that inflicted the bites. That won’t be known – or may never be known – until DNA testing is complete. The youth’s shirt (a potential source of wolf saliva DNA) and wolf muscle tissue have been sent to a laboratory at the University of California – Davis for forensic analysis. The analysis expected to take several weeks. The DNR will release the results when they are available.

The U.S. Forest Service has reopened the West Winnie Campground, which had been closed since Saturday.

The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has conducted an initial examination of the wolf. The results of additional tests will take several weeks at which time a final necropsy report will be issued.

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