Harrison County

Good news on rabies test after Biloxi pit bull attack

Cleo was euthanized and tested for rabies. The Mississippi Health Department said the test came back negative.
Cleo was euthanized and tested for rabies. The Mississippi Health Department said the test came back negative.

Cleo, the pit bull that mauled two Biloxi boys, has tested negative for rabies, the Mississippi Health Department says.

The South Mississippi Humane Society euthanized Cleo after she attacked two brothers Nov. 10 on Shady Lane in Biloxi. Jaxon Ronsonet, 15, had to have his left leg amputated because of the attack, while his 5-year-old brother, Bentley, had a gash on the top of his right foot from his big toe to his ankle.

Bentley has finished with wound care and Jaxon moved Tuesday from Ochsner Medical Center to inpatient rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital, both in New Orleans.

State Epidemiologist Paul Byers said Mississippi has had no cases of rabies in dogs since the early 1960s, and only one case of rabies since then in a land animal, a cat that contracted rabies in 2015.

“If possible, we usually recommend monitoring a dog for 10 days after the exposure for signs consistent with rabies rather than immediately euthanize the animal,” Byers said.

Biloxi resident Martha Broussard describes how a dog that was staying at her home attacked brothers Bentley Fontan, 5, and Jaxon Ronsonet, 15, on November 10, 2016. Ronsonet's injuries were so serious that he had to be lifted to Ochsner Medical Ce

He said dogs show signs of rabies within 10 days of biting someone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, signs of rabies in animals include lethargy, fever, vomiting, and anorexia that progress within days to “cerebral dysfunction, cranial nerve dysfunction, ataxia, weakness, paralysis, seizures, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, abnormal behavior, aggression, and/or self-mutilation.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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