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For Immediate Release
Nov. 26, 2014

Raccoon exposes two people to rabies in Greenville County

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two people have been referred to their health care providers for consultation after being exposed to rabies in the Mauldin/Simpsonville area of Greenville County by a raccoon that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

The exposures occurred on Nov. 24, 2014, and the raccoon tested positive for rabies on Nov. 26, 2014.

"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."

The raccoon was being held in captivity. The first exposure occurred when an individual at the facility where the animal was being housed was bitten by the raccoon. The second exposure occurred at a veterinary clinic where the animal was euthanized.

"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."

During 2013, there were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina. There have been 130 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the seventh animal to test positive in 2014 from Greenville County. There were five that tested positive in that county in 2013.

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/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. CDC's rabies webpages can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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Jim Beasley
Public Information Director
beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.7769