UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Department of Health and Environmental Control released information about a possible rabies exposure in Union County.
DHEC said one person was referred to their healthcare provider after they were bitten and scratched by a fox in Pacolet on June 11.
The fox was taken to DHEC’s laboratory for testing and was confirmed to have rabies on June 12.
“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,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division.
DHEC said one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against rabies is to keep pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals their space,” Vaughan said. “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.”
Anyone with reason to believe that they or their pets may have come into contact with the fox, or another animal that potentially has rabies, should call DHEC’s Environmental Affairs Spartanburg office at (864) 596-3327 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday). To report a bite or exposure on holidays or times outside of normal business hours, please call the DHEC after-hours service number 888-847-0902.
Anyone who comes believes they may have come into contact with rabies should immediately wash any part of your body that may have come into contact with saliva or neural tissue with plenty of soap and water, and seek medical attention.
This fox is the first animal in Union County to test positive for rabies in 2019, DHEC said. There have been 61 cases of rabid animals statewide this year.