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For Immediate Release
May 12, 2015

Coyote exposes person and pet to rabies in Marion County

COLUMBIA, S.C. - One person has been referred to their health care provider for consultation after being exposed to rabies in the Mullins area of Marion County by a coyote that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

The victim heard a commotion outside and spotted a dog fighting with the coyote. As the victim attempted to break up the fight, the coyote bit the victim on the leg. The exposure occurred on May 10, 2015; the coyote tested positive for rabies on May 11.

"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."

During 2014, there were 139 confirmed cases of animal rabies in South Carolina. There have been 53 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the first to test positive in 2015 from Marion County. There were none that tested positive in that county in 2014.

Vaccination is the best way to help protect your pet and your family from this disease. To find a clinic near you, visit

For additional information on rabies, visit, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at

CDC's rabies webpages can be found at


Jim Beasley
Public Information Director