SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Department of Health and Environmental control say four people have been referred to a health care provider for preventive treatment after being exposed to rabies in the Summerville area by a fox that tested positive for the disease.
DHEC officials say the fox is the first to test positive in 2014 from Berkeley County, with one animal testing positive in that county in 2013.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). "About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals contract the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."
"If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus through a bite, scratch or the saliva of a possibly infected animal, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water," Craig said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
According to DHEC, there were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2013 in South Carolina and 81 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year.