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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2013

Fox exposes Berkeley County child to rabies

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A Berkeley County child was exposed to rabies in the Pineville area and is undergoing post-exposure treatments after she was bitten by a fox that tested positive for the disease, 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 82 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the first to test positive this year from Berkeley County. There were no animals from this county to test positive in 2012.

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

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For media inquiries:
Jim Beasley – (803) 898-7769
Email –beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov