Rabid Fox Confirmed in Richland; One Person Exposed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 23, 2021
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed that a fox found near Hollingshed Road and Kennerly Road in the vicinity of Oak Point Elementary School in Irmo, SC 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 February 10 and was confirmed to have rabies on February 11.
Please contact DHEC if you know of any possible human or animal exposure.
"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch, or the saliva (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth) of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," said Terri McCollister, Rabies Program Team Leader. "Be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
If your pet is found with wounds of unknown origin, please consider that your pet may have been exposed to rabies and contact DHEC's Environmental Affairs Columbia office at (803) 896-0620 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's 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 Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2021. There have been nine cases of rabid animals statewide this year. Since 2002, South Carolina has averaged approximately 148 positive cases a year. In 2020, eight of the 168 confirmed rabies cases in South Carolina were in Richland County.