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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2017

Horry County fox potentially exposes one person to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has started post-exposure treatment after being potentially exposed to rabies by a fox that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

On March 16, the fox attacked the victim near the intersection of Pireway Road and Old Buck Creek Road in Longs. The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on March 17, and was confirmed to have rabies the next day.

In addition, two dogs will each undergo a quarantine. One dog was current on its rabies vaccination and will only have to undergo a 45-day quarantine. The second dog was not current on its rabies vaccination and will therefore be placed under a 180-day (6 month) quarantine. 

Keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from this fatal disease. Links for low cost rabies clinics are on our website at: www.dhec.sc.gov/rabies.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend giving wild and stray animals their space," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. "If you see an animal in need, avoid handling it and contact your local animal control office or wildlife rehabilitation facility."

"Rabies is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body of a healthy person or animal. This usually occurs through a bite; however, saliva contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Craig.

Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

The fox is the first animal in Horry County to test positive for rabies in 2017. There have been 11 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2016, one of the 94 rabies cases in South Carolina was in Horry County.

Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services office using DHEC's interactive map. For more information on rabies: visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies. CDC's rabies webpage can be found at: www.cdc.gov/rabies

Spring clinic dates, times, and locations can be found on DHEC's website at
http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/DiseasesandConditions/InfectiousDiseases/InsectAnimalBorne/Rabies/Clinics/.

For more information on rabies, please visit our website at http://www.dhec.sc.gov/rabies/.  

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DHEC Media Relations
media@dhec.sc.gov
(803) 898-7769