Officials with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) issued a warning on Monday about a rabid fox in Greenwood County, S.C.
According to the agency, one person was referred to their health care provider for treatment after being bitten on June 13 by a fox that later tested positive for rabies.
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal, however, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” SCDHEC official David Vaughan said.
According to Vaughan, the incident should serve as a reminder to residents to keep their pets up-to-date on rabies vaccinations.
And a reminder to steer clear of wild and stray animals …
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space,” Vaughan said. “If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”
According to SCDHEC, the rabid fox found in Greenwood County is the 63rd animal to test positive for rabies this year. Over the last five years, South Carolina has averaged approximately 108 positive rabies cases a year.
Anyone in Greenwood County who believes that they, their family members or their pets may have come into contact with this fox or another animal that potentially has rabies are urged to call SCDHEC’s environmental affairs office in Greenwood at 864-227-5915 between 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EDT. In the meantime, anyone who believes they may have been bitten by a potentially rabid animal is urged to wash any part of their body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with soap and water, and seek medical attention.
Those wishing to report a bite or possible rabies exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours are urged to call the SCDHEC after-hours service number at 888-847-0902.
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