FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 20, 2010
Hampton County residents advised to vaccinate pets against rabies
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Three Hampton County women who were possibly exposed to rabies by a dog are under the care of a physician after the animal tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.
"Once the rabies virus reaches the brain, the disease is fatal to humans and animals," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health. "The women are receiving preventive inoculations."
According to Ferguson, anyone bitten, scratched or otherwise exposed to the saliva of a rabid animal must undergo immediate measures to stop the virus from reaching the brain.
"Avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," Ferguson said. "About 400 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures from being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well.
"Therefore, to protect both the pets and their owners, residents should make sure their pets are regularly vaccinated against the disease. State law requires that all pets be vaccinated against rabies.
"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," she said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
This is the first confirmed rabid animal in Hampton County in 2010. Last year, there was one rabid animal confirmed in the county. In 2009, there were 152 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 103 confirmed cases in animals in the state.
For more information about rabies, see DHEC's webpage at: http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies or contact DHEC's Hampton County Environmental Health Office (803) 943-3878. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's webpage about rabies can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.
For more information:
Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org