FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Two adults from the Winnsboro area are being treated for rabies following a potential exposure to a dog that tested positive for the disease. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Tuesday afternoon that the two are receiving post-exposure treatments. According to DHEC, the dog is the second animal to test positive for rabies in Fairfield 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 Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services. “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 carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well.”
Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against the disease. ”This is the second dog from S.C. with rabies in less than a month, which is why vaccination is so important,” she said. ”Three cats have also been diagnosed with rabies this year.”
There were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2012 in South Carolina. There have been 102 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year.
“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,” Ferguson said. “Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.”
For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s webpage at http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/behs/regions.htm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s rabies webpage can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.