The South Carolina Health Department has recommended that one Aiken County resident who was exposed to a rabid raccoon receive treatment.
The animal tested positive for the disease, and the resident was exposed to the raccoon in the southern portion of Aiken County, according to a press release.
“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 stated in the release. “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 added 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 further stated. “Then be sure to get medical attention and report the incident to DHEC.”
According to SCDHEC, there were 124 confirmed cases of animal rabies during 2013 in South Carolina. There have been 29 confirmed cases in animals statewide so far this year.
This animal is the third to test positive in 2014 from Aiken County, and there were six in the county in 2013.