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Raccoon exposes person to rabies in Greenwood County

web posted March 19, 2014

GREENWOOD One person has been recommended to contact a health care provider for post-exposure treatment after being exposed to rabies by a raccoon that tested positive for the disease in Troy, S.C., the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today.

"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. "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 carry the disease most often, but domestic pets can contract rabies as well."

Craig said state law requires pet owners to have their pets regularly vaccinated against the disease.

"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."

There were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2013 in South Carolina. There have been 26 confirmed cases in animals statewide this year. This animal is the second to test positive in 2014 from Greenwood County.

For more information about rabies, see DHEC's webpage at http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies, or contact your local DHEC BEHS office at http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/behs/regions.htm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's rabies webpage can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

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