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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2016

Orangeburg County deer potentially exposes two people to rabies

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

The deer was found lying on the ground on Sept. 15, 2016, north of the Town of Vance. The victims approached the deer to further assess the animal, and were potentially exposed to rabies after the deer began acting aggressively. The deer was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on Sept. 16, and was confirmed to have rabies on Sept. 19.

"Rabies is a deadly virus that can affect all mammals. Always play it safe and give animals their space, particularly wild and stray animals," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS).

"Rabies 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," Craig said.

Hundreds of South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal. 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 deer is the first animal in Orangeburg County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 75 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, there were 130 rabies cases in animals in South Carolina; none of these animals were in Orangeburg County.

For more information on rabies visit http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at: http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. CDC's rabies webpage can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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DHEC Media Relations
media@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.1127