COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person in the Okatie area of Beaufort County has been referred to a health care provider after being bitten by a coyote that tested positive for rabies, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.
The exposure occurred on September 25, 2014, and the coyote tested positive for rabies on September 26, 2014.
"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," said Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services (BEHS). "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 contract the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."
"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," Craig said. "Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC."
Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, was World Rabies Day. A global movement, the event promotes rabies prevention and control. For more information on World Rabies Day, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) website at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Rabies/.
During 2013, there were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina. There have been 109 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the fourth to test positive in 2014 from Beaufort County. There was one animal that tested positive in that county in 2013.
For more information about rabies, see DHEC's webpage at http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office, at http://www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/. CDC's rabies webpages can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.
Public Information Officer