Wolf Believed To Have Bitten Teen Tests Negative For Rabies

A gray wolf that wildlife experts suspect bit a 16-year-old boy early Saturday at the West Winnie Campground on Lake Winnibigoshish in northern Minnesota has tested negative for rabies.

The Minnesota Department of Health Lab confirmed the results Wednesday, according to a news release from the Department of Natural Resources.  The wolf that was tested had been trapped Monday at the campground and sent to the lab for rabies testing.

According to the DNR, the agency also reported that it’s 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 news release said.

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 said, and the agency 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. Results of additional tests will take several weeks, at which time a final necropsy report will be issued.

You can read the Forum News Service story about the wolf attack here.