Rabid Fox Confirmed in Aiken County; One Person Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Nov. 16, 2023
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a fox found near White Cedar Way and Red Cedar Road in Aiken, S.C. has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their health care provider.
The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 14, 2023, and was confirmed to have rabies on November 15, 2023. If you believe you, someone you know or your pets have come in contact with this fox or another animal that potentially has rabies, please call DHEC's Public Health Aiken office at (803) 642-1637 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch that allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program director. "However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer, wildlife control operator or a wildlife rehabilitator. Please report all animal bites, scratches, and exposures to potentially rabid animals to DHEC.”
It is important to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccination, as this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against the disease. This fox is the first animal in Aiken County to test positive for rabies in 2023. There have been 73 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2022, five of the 83 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Aiken County.