December 18, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has been referred to a health care provider for consultation after being exposed to rabies in the Liberty/Norris area of Pickens County by a skunk that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.
The exposure occurred on Dec. 15, 2014, and the skunk tested positive for rabies on Dec. 17, 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 victim attempted to prevent the skunk from crawling underneath the victim's home when the skunk sprayed and bit. The skunk was captured and euthanized for lab testing.
"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 135 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the eighth animal to test positive in 2014 from Pickens County. There was one 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, athttp://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. CDC's rabies webpages can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.
Public Information Director