A Chester County resident was attacked and bitten by a rabid fox in their yard last Thursday, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Officials confirmed positive rabies test results on Friday, referring the unidentified person to health care providers to potentially receive treatment for the rabies exposure. DHEC makes public instances of rabies exposure across the state but does not name affected individuals.
The rabies exposure happened in the Great Falls area of Chester County, according to a DHEC news release sent Monday. Officials said its the seventh animal to test positive for rabies in the county so far this year. Last year, Chester County had 13 cases of rabies found in animals.
Statewide, there have been 96 confirmed rabies cases. Last year, there were a total of 139 cases.
“To reduce the risk of getting rabies, we recommend that people avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild," Sandra Craig of DHEC's Bureau of Environmental Health Services said in Monday’s news release.
About 275 people in South Carolina undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, Craig said. Most exposures come from bites or scratches by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.
Mostly, wild animals contract rabies, Craig said, but pets can be vulnerable, too. A rabies vaccination is the most effective way to prevent people and pets from the disease, according to DHEC.
Experts recommend immediately washing affected areas with water and soap if there’s a possibility of rabies exposure through an animal bite or scratch. Affected individuals should also seek medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.
For more information, visit scdhec.gov/rabies.