DHEC: Rabid fox bites Fort Mill resident

adouglas@heraldonline.comMay 14, 2014 

State health officials say a rabid fox bit a Fort Mill resident this month, prompting the person to undergo treatment for rabies.

The case is among 40 instances of rabid animals found in South Carolina so far this year, according to a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control new release. The fox is the sixth animal in York County to test positive for rabies this year.

The Fort Mill resident was bitten on May 9, DHEC spokesman Jim Beasley said.

DHEC did not release the location of where the person encountered the rabid fox. Officials also did not release the affected person's name, age or gender.

Rabies affects nearly 275 people in the state every year, with most exposures coming from bites or scratches by a rabid pet or wild animal, officials said. State law requires that pet owners regularly vaccinate their animals to prevent the disease.

"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.

Health officials recommend that people immediately wash any part of their body with soap if they think they've been exposed to rabies. The disease can be spread after been bitten, scratched or coming in contact with a rabid animal's saliva. Those exposed to rabies should also seek medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.

Last year, health officials recorded 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies statewide. Twelve of those cases were in York County. One case last summer involved a rabid fox biting a woman who was running in the Silver Lakes neighborhood of Rock Hill around 7:30 a.m.

For more information about rabies, see DHEC's website at www.scdhec.gov/rabies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rabies webpage can be found at www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Anna Douglas 803-329-4068

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