July 22, 2016

Lexington County fox potentially exposes one person to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has been referred to their health care provider for consultation after potentially being exposed to rabies in the West Columbia/Cayce area by a fox that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

The potential exposure occurred on July 16, 2016, when the victim was bitten and scratched by the fox. The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on July 18, and was confirmed to have rabies on July 19.

"Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body, usually through a bite, or contact with an open wound or areas such as the mouth or eyes," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS).

To reduce the risk of getting rabies, DHEC recommends avoiding wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild.

"Play it safe and give animals their space, particularly wild and stray animals," Craig said. "Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year."

In addition to being cautious around wild or stray animals, keeping your pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccination is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect yourself, your family and your pets from this fatal disease.

The fox is the second animal in Lexington County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 60 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. There were a total of 130 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina in 2015. Ten of the 2015 cases were in Lexington County.

For more information on rabies visit, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at CDC's rabies webpage can be found at


DHEC Media Relations