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September 30, 2016

Richland County fox potentially exposes one person to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has started post-exposure treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies by a fox that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.

The exposure occurred on Sept. 26, when the victim was bitten by the fox in the Arcadia Lakes area in Columbia. The fox was submitted to DHEC's laboratory for testing on Sept. 27, and it was confirmed to have rabies the next day.

"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).

"Always 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, 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 fox is the third animal in Richland County to test positive for rabies in 2016. There have been 78 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide this year. In 2015, 11 of the 130 rabies cases in South Carolina were in Richland 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