COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials said two people — including one person in the Upstate — has been referred to health care providers after coming into contact with foxes that tested positive for rabies.
According to the news release, one person was attacked by a fox in Pickens on July 23 and a second person was attacked by a fox in Gilbert on July 24.
“Rabies is usually transmitted through a bite which allows saliva from an infected animal to be introduced into the body of a person or another animal. However, saliva or neural tissue contact with open wounds or areas such as the eyes, nose, or mouth could also potentially transmit rabies,” David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division, said. “To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space. If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it and contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator.”
If you believe that you, a family member or your pet came into contact with either of these foxes, or another animal that possibly has rabies, call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Greenville office at 864-372-3273 or the Lexington Office at 803-896-0620 during normal business hours 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
According to the release, if you believe you’ve come into contact with a rabid animal, wash any part of your body that came into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, as well as seek out medical attention.
To report a bite or exposure on holidays and/or times outside of normal business hours, call 888-847-0902.
The rabid fox in Pickens County was the first animal in Pickens County to test positive for rabies in 2019.
In 2019, there have been 85 cases of rabid animals statewide.
For more information on rabies, visit www.scdhec.gov/rabies or www.cdc.gov/rabies.