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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 06, 2013

Raccoon exposes Saluda County man to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Post-exposure treatments are being administered to a Saluda County man after he was bitten by a raccoon that tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," said Sue Ferguson of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services. ”About 275 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Wild animals carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."

Ferguson said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against the disease.

"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."

There were 137 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2012 in South Carolina. There have been 31 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. After having no animals test positive for rabies in 2012, this animal is the second to test positive this year from Saluda County.

For more information about rabies, see DHEC's webpage at http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's webpage about rabies can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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For more information:
Lindsey Evans – (803) 898-1127
Email – evansl2@dhec.sc.gov