BISMARCK — A puppy that tested positive for rabies on Thursday, Aug. 29, has state health departments in the Dakotas seeking individuals that may be exposed to the fatal virus.

On Aug. 29, a puppy tested positive for rabies in South Dakota. While very little is known about the puppy, it last resided in Agency Village, south of Sisseton, S.D. The puppy had at least three littermates.

“Our concern is that the littermates have been exposed to rabies and may develop rabies and expose their new owners,” said Alicia Torfin, epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health. “It’s possible that some of the new owners may be North Dakota residents.”

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the central nervous system, a NDDoH release said. It is almost always fatal for animals and people. People who are exposed to rabies need to begin a series of rabies vaccinations as soon as possible after the exposure.

The following recommendations can reduce the risk of rabies to people:

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  • Routinely vaccinating pets
  • Avoiding contact with wild animals
  • Washing bite wounds thoroughly with soap and water
  • Beginning the series of rabies vaccinations as soon as possible after an exposure