A Chester County resident was attacked and bitten by a rabid fox in the resident’s yard last Thursday, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Officials confirmed positive rabies test results on Friday, referring the unidentified person to health care providers to potentially receive treatment for the rabies exposure. DHEC makes public instances of rabies exposure across the state but does not name affected individuals.
The rabies exposure happened in the Great Falls area of southeastern Chester County, according to a DHEC news release Monday. Officials say it’s the seventh animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year. Last year, Chester County had 13 cases of rabies found in animals.
Statewide, there have been 96 confirmed rabies cases. Last year, there were a total of 139 cases in South Carolina.
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“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," Sandra Craig of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services said in Monday’s news release.
About 275 people in South Carolina undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, Craig said. Most exposures come from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.
Mostly, wild animals contract rabies, Craig said, but pets can be vulnerable, too. A pet’s rabies vaccination is the most effective way to prevent people and their pets from the disease, according to DHEC.
Experts recommend immediately washing affected areas with soap and water if there’s a possibility of rabies exposure through an animal bite or scratch. Affected individuals should also seek medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.
For information, visit scdhec.gov/rabies.