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November 9, 2016

Florence County dog potentially exposes two people to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Two people in Florence County have been referred to their healthcare providers for consultation after being potentially exposed to rabies by a pet dog that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

Starting in mid-October, the dog began to show abnormal behavior that included unusual vocalizations and aggression. The victims were subsequently exposed to saliva while trying to provide care for the animal. The dog died on October 30, and was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on November 1. It was confirmed to have rabies on November 2. The dog was not current on its rabies vaccination.

Pets, particularly those that stay outdoors, have the potential to come in contact with wild or stray animals. If unexplainable, visible wounds are found on your pet, immediately seek veterinary treatment.

In addition, 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.

"Rabies is a deadly virus that is transmitted when saliva or neural tissue of an infected animal is introduced into the body. Exposure may occur through a bite, scratch or contact with saliva to broken skin or mucous membranes, such as the eyes or mouth," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services.

Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal.

The dog is the first animal in Florence County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 89 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, one of the 130 rabies cases in South Carolina was in Florence County.

Contact your local DHEC Environmental Health Services office at: For more information on rabies: visit CDC's rabies webpage can be found at:


DHEC Media Relations