Rabid Fox Confirmed in Kershaw County; One Person Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 29, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a fox found near Roseborough Road and Ward Road in Lugoff, S.C., has tested positive for rabies. One person was exposed and has been referred to their healthcare provider.
The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on July 26, 2021, and was confirmed to have rabies on July 27, 2021.
"Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite or scratch which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, infected saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "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.”
If you believe that you, someone you know, or your pet has had contact with or been potentially exposed to this fox or another suspect animal, please contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Sumter office at (803) 778-6548 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday) or after-hours and on holidays at (888) 847-0902 (Select Option 2).
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 fifth animal in Kershaw County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been 47 cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, 11 of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Kershaw County.